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Philippines digs in for climate change meeting

Business World

The Philippines will resist pressures for it to commit to greenhouse gas emission cuts and will demand damages from large industrial economies at next month’s talks for a global deal to fight climate change, a ranking official said late last week.

Otherwise, binding this developing country to targets would stunt local farming which already accounts for roughly a third of the country’s emissions, Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano said ahead of technical working group meetings in Tianjin, China on Oct. 4-9.

The stance counters several richer countries’ proposal in the 2009 Copenhagen negotiations for developing economies to contribute more to the worldwide effort to stop global warming.

The meeting was supposed to lay down new emission targets as current Kyoto Protocol commitments will last only until 2012. An unresolved standoff now remains after Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada proposed to forge a new deal separate from the earlier protocol, a move that, in effect, would have junked provisions that had distinguished between developed and developing states’ obligations.

"We will not commit. There will be no cuts," Mr. Serrano said in a chance interview before heading for China.

The meeting will be among "ad hoc" groups tasked to "narrow down options and advance substantive work" ahead of the leaders’ conference in Cancun, Mexico in late-November, data from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Web site show.

"One-third of our emissions come from agriculture from the decomposition of plant matter and methane emissions from piggeries [for instance]. If we commit, we won’t be able to produce anymore," Mr. Serrano said.

"[And we want] reparations. The developed countries are continuing to pollute. They just want [to dole out funding] on their own terms: bilateral loans or converted overseas development assistance," he said.

But such financing terms for poor countries’ programs to adapt to climate change are not suitable since a bulk of the emissions come from rich industrialized countries, Mr. Serrano argued.

No figure on the proposed fund has been specified yet, he said.

Sought for comment, local farmers’ group Alyansa Agrikultura agreed that developing countries must have lighter commitments than their richer counterparts.

"But agriculture itself can cut carbon emissions. We can use organic fertilizers [for instance]," the group’s chairman Ernesto M. Ordoñez said in a telephone interview, noting that the sector will be vulnerable to climate change.

In the meantime, commitments in the Kyoto Protocol stand: several European countries, Japan, Canada, New Zealand must cut their greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012. The Philippines, which signed the protocol in 1998, is not bound to a target cut. -- Jessica Anne D. Hermosa

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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