By Catherine J. Torres
MANILA, (PNA) — EU is banking on archipelagic Philippines – one of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change – to help push the bid for a 2015 agreement on international action against further climate-altering global warming.
Citing urgency for countries’ fair share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction to prevent global temperature increase from exceeding 2°C, EU’s climate chief Connie Hedegaard noted the bloc “counts on the Philippines to help bring all other major economies on board of an ambitious future climate regime” so the world can avoid having climate-driven disasters as its new normal.
”There’s no way that can be done without the commitment of big economies and GHG emitters,” she said Friday during a press conference in Metro Manila after meeting with Philippine authorities on EU’s climate agenda.
Hedegaard arrived this week for a two-day mission to strengthen EU-Philippines bilateral cooperation on climate action.
She lauded the Philippines for helping address the climate change problem even if the country isn’t a major GHG emitter.
Experts already identified GHG emissions as trapping heat, resulting in global warming that’s driving climate change.
They continue calling for further reduction in GHG emissions and reported latest data indicate the previously projected 2°C rise in global temperature might even reach 4°C by 2060, jeopardizing socio-economic development worldwide.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change noted a 2°C rise in global temperature from pre-industrial levels is the highest increase the world can afford if it wants a 50 percent chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
Among climate change’s effects are onslaught of weather extremes as well as sea level and temperature rise.
Kyoto Protocol is the first international agreement that set countries’ respective binding commitments on emission reduction.
The agreement’s first commitment period for either limiting or reducing the emissions covered the 2008-2012 period.
EU and other countries in Kyoto Protocol’s Annex 1 list agreed on a second commitment period from 2013 to 2020.
For 2020, EU aims at reducing its GHG emissions by at least 20 percent below 1990 levels.
The bloc also targets achieving by then a 20 percent improvement in its energy efficiency and drawing from renewable sources some 20 percent of energy it consumes.
During the 2011 UN climate negotiations, several countries initiated developing a new binding international climate change agreement to be adopted in 2015 and implemented from 2020.
EU is seeking developed nations’ commitment to “steep emission reductions” and continues urging developing nations to start limiting respective emissions growth.
Hedegaard believes countries must already act to come up with the target 2015 agreement.
“I think we should be serious about 2015 – the world can’t afford to skip that deadline,” she said.
To help push EU’s climate agenda, Hedegaard said the bloc decided allocating in the next seven years 20 percent of its entire budget to efforts on battling climate change.
“That also goes for development assistance on climate change mitigation and adaptation,” she said.
Earlier, EU reported mobilizing in 2012 alone some 523 million euros in fast-start funding to support adaptation activities in developing countries.
The next round of UN climate negotiations is scheduled this November in Warsaw, Poland.
Hedegaard expects negotiations then to be challenging like those in previous years.
She observed many already share a sense of frustration over progress of the negotiations.
Countries must strive to continue working towards advancing the global climate change agenda, however, she noted.
“Frustration won’t reduce emissions – concrete action will,” she said.
EU is on track in meeting its emissions target but won’t relent on such effort, Hedegaard reported.
She noted by 2050, EU aims achieving an 80 percent to 95 percent cut in its GHG emissions from 1990 levels.
In March 2007, EU leaders endorsed an integrated approach to climate and energy policy.
Such move aimed to enhance EU’s battle against climate change and increase this bloc’s energy security while boosting its competitiveness.