The Paris Agreement

Sannah Mudbidri (Grade 9 IC), whose paper was on ‘The Paris Agreement’ (combating climate change and adapting to its impact) was awarded the Best Position Paper. Ananya Vepa (Grade 10 IG), Neha Suryadevara (Grade 10 IG) and Agastya Vinchhi (Grade 9 IG) won Honourable Mentions. 

Topic: Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s)
Country: The Republic of the Philippines
Committee: Paris Climate Change Summit

The Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of the Republic of the Philippines is based on the principle that mitigation of climate change is an adaptive function. Although Philippines accounts for only 0.31% of the worlds greenhouse gasemissions, it is a nation highly susceptible to the consequences of global warming, such as the Typhoon Rosing, which caused 9.33 billion PHP worth of property damaged and cost 936 human lives.

Climate change is an issue that affects every nation but, some more harshly than others. The Philippines has been affected by the results of climate change in the form of typhoons and a drastic rise in sea level. Sea level rise can be caused by the melting of glaciers and the expansion of water as it heats up. The global average rate of sea level rise is 1.4 millimeters a year with the Philippines lying close to 5 times that amount.

Although Industrialization is considered a priority, Climate change is also a very real problem which we believe is more important. In “Addressing climate change shall be a top priority but upon a fair and equitable equation. It should not stymie our industrialization.” said President Rodrigo Duterte. The target of the Philippines is to reduce about 70% of emissions relative to the business as usual scenario by 2030. This is assuming the losses and damages from extreme events due to climate change will not divert resources from mitigation activities and climate and that climate projections were considered in the assessment of mitigation options.
Pre-existing policies of the republic of Philippines with respect to climate change include the Philippine development plan, The national framework strategy on climate change, the national disaster risk reduction and management plan and the Philippine national REDD-plus strategy.

Climate change and national hazards will progressively impact economically important sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and water resource management. The National framework strategy on climate change identifies adaptation as the anchor strategy with these sectors, and healthcare, being the priority. Adaption measures are prioritized to ensure that impacts of extreme events are minimized, therefore supporting the achievement of national development targets.The implementation strategies consist of mainstreaming adaptation and disaster risk reduction into plans and programs at all levels.The priority measures include firstly, system strengthening for downscaling climate change models, climate scenario-building, climate monitoring and observation. Secondly, the mainstreaming of climate and disaster risk reduction in the form of plans, programs and projects. Next, the development of climate and disaster-resilient ecosystems. Then, the systematic transition to a climate and disaster-resilient social and economic growth, and lastly, the research and development of climate change, extreme events their impact for improved risk assessment and management.

In order to achieve the goals that have been set for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Philippines has certain technical needs. Technical assistance is needed for certain sectors including the efficiency of the standard development of energy and water, cost effective renewable energy, and renewable high efficiencytechnology for conventional power generation. Technology transfers and innovation are needed to support adaptation for the minimization of loss and damages and enhanced mitigation capacities. Finally, external assistance is required to enable the adoption of technology to improve adaptive capabilities and resilience, for example, climate and natural hazard modeling and risk management measures.
Full implementation of the INDC also requires adequate, predicable and sustainable financing. Public financing will prioritize adaptation to reduce vulnerability while also providing a policy environment that will enable participation of the private sector to optimize mitigation opportunities and reduce business risks towards climate-smart development.

Philippines believes that although economic progression and industrialization are essential, climate change is the top-priority. The opposing view however believes that industrialization is essential, even at the cost of the environment. This view is misguided because, in the words of President Rodrigo Duterte, “Economic progress is unattainable if the country has to deal annually with mounting losses in productivity, damage to infrastructure, damage to food crops and deaths due to the impacts of climate change”.
While in the past, economy took precedence over the ecosystem, that is no longer the case and our whole efforts will be put to use to help combat climate change.

In conclusion, The Republic of the Philippines hopes to collaborate with other member states to come to a reasonable solution to this crisis. We hope to achieve our goal of reducing 70% of emissions of greenhouse gases relative to the BAU scenario by 2030.