It’s been almost a year since leaders from 170 countries met in New York City to formally sign the Paris climate change agreement, and almost four months since the agreement officially went into force. But president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is only now jumping on the climate change-fighting bandwagon, finally signing the historic accord.
Duterte initially resisted signing the agreement; he claimed it favored rich countries like the United States, and threatened to boycott the agreement because it would hurt industrialization in the Philippines. But his protests subsided last November, when he said a cabinet decision swayed him to support the Paris agreement. Now that he’s signed the deal, it will need to go through the country’s Senate.
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Senator Loren Legarda said, “We are a step away from full ratification and it is my commitment to actively shepherd the Senate’s immediate concurrence.”It’s expected the Senate will back ratification as Duterte’s allies populate the governing body. Should the agreement finally go through, the Philippines would receive access to the Green Climate Fund, a global initiative slated to send billions of dollars to developing nations to help them combat climate change.
Manila, the country’s capital, has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The ambitious target will require financial and technical support.
Duterte has been labeled a strongman and a firebrand. Vox described him as the Donald Trump of Manila, although the former Davao City mayor has been in politics for decades. Trump and Duterte have become fast friends – Trump reportedly praised Duterte’s war on drugs, which is so violent it sparked a January report from Amnesty International.