Aquino to UN: Act now to stop perils of climate change

Aquino to UN: Act now to stop perils of climate change
Benigno Aquino III, President of the Philippines

UNITED NATIONS - President Aquino on Tuesday called on nations to end a protracted debate and work together to save the world from the perils of climate change.

Joining some 100 world leaders at the one-day UN Climate Summit, the President said one nation should not wait for another's action before determining its own, saying this would only defeat the goal of establishing a collective and effective response to mitigate the effects of global warming.

"The time of debate of whether climate change is real or not is over. There is no doubt that it exists, which is the reason we are all here. It would be wrong, however, to engage in another protracted debate over the individual commitments of countries. To my mind, that would be adopting the wrong framework," Aquino said.

"Instead, everyone here has to do everything they can to address climate change, without first waiting for their neighbours to engage in action. Doing anything less leaves the problem unattended, too, thereby increasing the problem we all face," he said.

"It would not be an exaggeration to say that Filipinos bear a disproportionate amount of the burden when it comes to climate change," the President said, pointing to the battering his nation received from Super Typhoon "Yolanda" (international name: Haiyan) in November last year.

Green Climate Fund

At the UN summit held after tens of thousands rallied around the world, presidents and prime ministers urged action to combat climate change, but pledges remained well short of goals. France promised $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund, making it the only contributor other than Germany to the new institution that would help the worst-hit countries.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that $2.3 billion had been pledged to the Green Climate Fund, but the amount was well below the $10 billion aimed for by yearend let alone the $100 billion a year aimed starting in 2020 to help poor nations cope with rising temperatures and disasters.

The UN chief called the meeting more to build momentum than to reach concrete achievements. It was the first such event since the Copenhagen summit on climate change ended in disarray in 2009 and aims to set the tone for a conference next year in Paris designed to seal a new global agreement.

French President Francois Hollande said the Paris conference should deliver a "global and ambitious" deal and warned that climate change posed a "threat to world peace and security."

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