Dingdong Dantes: ‘Paris Agreement signing on Earth Day is Filipino Youth’s Success’

There’s another reason to celebrate this year’s Earth Day. Today, April 22, the ceremonial signing of the landmark Paris Agreement will be held in New York.

“We are in unity with the Philippine government and other countries that will be signing the Paris Agreement. We commend your leadership and look forward to participating in efforts that will ensure that the agreement will come into fruition,” said #NowPH (Not on Our Watch Philippines) convenor Jose Sixto “Dingdong” Dantes III.

The former National Youth Commissioner also said that Earth Day 2016 marks the success of young Filipino climate advocates who signed up for the #NowPH movement in order to push for the Paris Agreement.

Launched by the National Youth Commission (NYC) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), #NowPH called on global leaders to conclude a universal, equitable, and ambitious climate deal that will limit global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The movement gathered around 3.6 million pledges and generated at least 221 million social media interactions with the support of local and foreign institutions.

The pledges were presented by Dantes together with President Benigno Aquino III during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on November 30, 2015 in Paris, France.

Dantes stressed that the official turnover of pledges in Paris was just “the beginning of a more unified and sustainable climate movement for the Filipino youth.”

“The clamor of the Filipino youth for climate action did not end in Paris. It echoes all the way to New York,” said Dantes.

NYC Commissioner Earl Saavedra also emphasized the important role of the youth in realizing the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which will be implemented from 2020 onwards.

“We have seen young Filipino leaders and organizations who are making significant strides in addressing the climate crisis. With the proper guidance and encouragement, they can definitely contribute in the implementation and institutionalization of the climate agreement as an effective youth participation strategy,” said Saavedra.

Meanwhile, CCC emphasized its commitment to focus on renewable energy in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions and ensure sustainable development in response to the new and legally-binding climate deal.

“We must seize the opportunity now. A decisive transition to clean energy is good for the climate and makes financial and economic sense,” Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman said in a separate interview.

In order to take effect, the Paris Agreement would need the ratification of 55 states representing at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emission.

US and China, accounting for 40% of global carbon emissions, have signified their intent to sign the climate accord.

“Climate change is inevitable, but we can prevent further climate havoc especially in highly vulnerable countries such as the Philippines. At the end of the day, this is not about us anymore but the future of the generations to come,” Dantes stressed.

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