Duterte hits int’l climate change mechanisms for lack of enforcement, accountability


President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday questioned how international climate change commitments could be enforced when he said there was no governing body that would level sanctions against countries that fail to do their part.

Duterte aired his sentiments during the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo where he was among the keynote speakers.

"What is this conference of climate change for? Is this just to talk? Because there is no body, no entity to enforce the laws governing climate," he said.

"There is not even a sanction. And mankind has always been there as practiced by many over the periods of generations of just talk. And at the end of a century or two, there is trouble, there is war."

He said that he once expressed his apprehensions about climate talks during a roundtable discussion that included United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

"After he talked, I intervened and said, 'You know Mr. President Guterres, we are talking about deaths, we talk about destruction, we talk about dislocation, the Philippines has been there,'" he said.

"I said to the body: Let’s stop kidding each other or else we are just wasting the time and the money of the people coming back and forth to these conferences, which has not improved a bit since we started to talk about it as it was maybe the noisy scientists."

Duterte lamented that developing countries that have contributed the least to global warming, like the Philippines, "suffer the most from its horrendous consequences."


"The Philippines joined the global consensus to fight climate change. We hope that this consensus would hold and real action be undertaken, especially by those most responsible for this monumental problem," he said.

"Governments must comply with obligations beyond our constituency. The problem [is] grave to humanity affects the entire human population. There has to be an accountability." 

As part of efforts to curtail the effects of climate change, the Philippines joined nearly 200 countries in a landmark deal in Paris in December 2015 to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit the rise in global temperatures to below two degrees Celsius.

Duterte had earlier threatened not to recognize the Philippines' commitment to the agreement backed by his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, arguing that the mandated reduction of carbon emissions in countries like the Philippines might impede the country’s industrial growth.

Prevailed over by his Cabinet, Duterte signed the Instrument of Accession, which was deposited to the United Nations, in March 2017.

The United States, one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters, withdrew from the Paris climate accord in June 2017 which President Donald Trump found to be a "bad deal" for the American economy. —NB, GMA News