HCWH Asia Lauds Duterte's Go-Signal to Ratify Paris Agreement

Health Care Without Harm-Asia lauds President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statement that he will now support the ratification the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The group, which is promoting the transition from coal to sustainable sources of energy in order to protect public health from climate change, says that the Philippines’ full commitment to implement the climate agreement will reap many benefits in improving the quality of life of Filipinos. 

“Health Care Without Harm Asia rejoices together with the entire climate justice and environmental movement on President Duterte’s recent statement to finally ratify the climate agreement. We thank all the members of his cabinet and civil society groups who have persuaded him to reconsider his previous stand on the climate issue,” explained HCWH Asia Director Ramon San Pascual. 

“Developing countries like the Philippines must put a stop on establishing more coal-fired power plants and shrug off the reality of climate change. Our people are the ones most affected by it and we simply cannot leave it all up to richer countries to cut their carbon emissions. Investing in renewables will have greater benefits to both our economy and health. Studies have shown that, contrary to what coal companies say, renewable energy is cheaper, more sustainable and socially positive. Renewable energy will create more sustainable, quality jobs and provide expanded and cleaner energy access for the poor.”

recent report by the Overseas Development Institute argues that while the coal industry claims that expanding coal use is critical to fighting extreme poverty and improving energy access for billions of people in developing countries, the opposite is true. Building just a third of the planned coal-fired power plants would take the world past 2C of warming, pushing hundreds of millions into extreme poverty.

Health sector unites against fossil fuels

Last week in Taipei, the World Medical Association called on health organizations worldwide to divest from fossil fuel based companies and to invest in companies that uphold environmental principles consistent with United Nations policy. 

The WMA emphasized how it is the most vulnerable -- children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease, and those living in poverty --  that are most at risk from climate change and the least able to adapt to the new conditions. Fossil fuel air pollution reduces quality of life for millions of people worldwide, causing a substantial burden of disease and health care costs.

“The President must listen to the voice of the health sector, on both the dangers of climate change and the health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Just as health professionals divested from tobacco companies because it was in opposition to its healing mission, it is now calling us to divest from fossil fuels because they threaten the health of millions.”

“We also call on our administration, especially the Department of Health, to take on a leadership role in tackling climate change by supporting and investing in low-carbon and climate-resilient health care facilities to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

The Paris Agreement officially entered into force last Friday with 102 countries ratifying the treaty as of this writing.