#COP21: Philippines joins ‘high ambition’ bloc

KD Suarez

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#COP21: Philippines joins ‘high ambition’ bloc
(UPDATED) 'This combination of developed and developing countries could be a powerful voice in the last leg of this process,' says a member of the Philippine delegation at COP21

LE BOURGET, France (UPDATED) – As the UN climate change (COP21) talks goes overtime, the Philippines announced Saturday, December 12, that it has joined the “ambition coalition” that is lobbying for an extensive climate pact.

“This is to confirm that the Philippines has joined the High Ambition Coalition,” Antonio La Viña, member of the Philippine delegation at the COP21, said in a message to Filipino journalists at the conference.

“I can confirm that [Climate Change Commission] Secretary Manny de Guzman will be attending the next meeting of the coalition,” he said.

“This combination of developed and developing countries could be a powerful voice in the last leg of this process,” La Viña added.

Informal bloc

The informal “high ambition coalition,” announced by the European Union during the 195-nation conference in Paris this week, includes more than half of the countries of the world but is not a formal negotiating bloc.

The alliance is calling for a legally binding, fair, durable agreement in Paris that must set a long-term goal, be reviewed every 5 years, and include a system for tracking progress.

This coalition includes the United States and Brazil, as well as the EU.

Among the major players absent from the so-called high ambition coalition are India and China. India, in particular, has balked at moving toward the higher end of the spectrum on all these goals.

However, the “high ambition coalition” members are not united on some key points, including how rich nations should mobilize finances for the developing world to pay for the cost of climate change.

La Viña clarified that the Philippines is representing only itself in the coalition. It is not representing the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a league of 20 of the most at-risk countries in the world which it currently chairs.

The CVF leads the charge for a below 1.5°C warming cap in the agreement instead of the more accepted 2°C. Not all members of the “high ambition coalition” support this call. – With reports from Agence France-Presse, Pia Ranada / Rappler.com

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