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Philippines' Duterte signs Paris pact on climate change

Reuters

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change restricting greenhouse gas emissions, putting the deal one step closer to ratification in the country, a senator said on Wednesday.

The agreement, which came into force on Nov. 4, aims to transform the world's fossil-fuel-driven economy within decades and slow the pace of a global temperature increase to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.

Manila has committed to reduce its emissions by 70 percent by 2030, but it will need technical and financial support to achieve it.

"We are a step away from full ratification and it is my commitment to actively shepherd the Senate's immediate concurrence," said Senator Loren Legarda, after receiving the Instrument of Ratification for the Paris Agreement from the presidential palace.

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The ratification is expected to be well supported in the Senate, which is dominated by Duterte's allies, and would allow Manila access to the Green Climate Fund, which aims to channel billions of dollars to help poor nations tackle global warming.

Duterte's signature comes more than 10 months after the agreement was signed by more than a hundred countries at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The firebrand leader had threatened he would not honor the agreement since he believed it would hurt the country's efforts to industrialize. But, in November he relented, citing a "cabinet decision" to support the deal.

He had repeatedly lambasted the deal as lopsided in favor of rich nations like the United States.

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)