Legarda today expressed optimism that humanity can win the fight against climate change if global policies and actions are put in place and implemented to significantly cut down greenhouse gas emissions, similar to the effort against ozone-depleting substances (ODS).
Legarda cited a 2022 report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that the ozone layer — which protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet rays and was thinning in the 1980s due mainly to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) — is on track to recover to 1980 levels by 2040 in most parts of the world because of positive actions taken under the Montreal Protocol, a treaty adopted in 1987 to regulate and phase down ODS.
She also said that since the treaty entered into force in 1989, the use of CFCs has decreased by 99%. Compliance with the treaty has also resulted in a decline in ODS emissions and avoidance of global warming of approximately 0.5-1°C by mid-century, compared to an extreme scenario with an uncontrolled increase in ODS of 3-3.5% per year.
“What we are doing for our ozone, we must now do for our climate. We already have the Paris Agreement as the landmark treaty on climate change, but countries must have the will to deliver on their commitments, most especially in undertaking significant and deep cuts on fossil fuel emissions and mobilizing finance, technologies, and capacity development support to countries and communities who need it,” Legarda explained.
“Global and domestic policies that favor a transition towards a low carbon and climate-resilient development path must also be put in place, particularly in utilizing renewable energy resources, adopting sustainable systems and technologies, and shifting to a circular economy,” Legarda added.
Legarda said that current commitments contained in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of countries are projected to result in a planet with a global warming level of at least 2.5 degrees Celsius, a degree beyond the 1.5°C climate threshold prescribed in the Paris Agreement and by scientists across the globe.
She added that the annual mobilization of US$ 100 billion of climate finance for developing countries, starting in 2020, remains unmet and that opening more access to climate finance from public and private sources and philanthropies, and for multilateral development banks and financial institutions to improve their business models to accept risks and leverage finance for developing countries is needed.
“The depleting ozone layer was such a huge environmental concern back then, but we were able to diagnose the problem and unite to address it. The recovery of our ozone layer is a sign that we are capable of healing our climate and gives us more reason to hope for a better planet and future for all,” Legarda concluded.