18 Apr 2016

Climate Change Commission says Philippine energy policy needs review
The Climate Change Commission (CCC) on Monday said the government should review its energy policy to step away from the use of coal and tap more renewable resources to meet the country’s power supply requirements.

“Updating our roadmap to massively favor clean sources will allow the Philippines to be at the forefront of this aggressive and massive trend of investment and transition from fossil to renewable energy. This allows the Philippines to not only contribute to global efforts to combat climate change, but reduce growing economic and financial risks associated with carbon-intensive energy sources, such as coal,” Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman, vice chairperson of the CCC, said.

The year 2015 marked the unprecedented growth of renewable energy globally. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), more than 90 percent of new electricity generated last year came from renewable energy sources, with investments reaching a record-breaking US$328.9 billion.

On the other hand, coal, the most carbon-intensive among fossil fuels, is starting to be seen as a risky long-term investment. Peabody, the largest coal mining company in the world, recently declared bankruptcy.

Long-term institutional investors are increasingly treating carbon as a long-term risk and are divesting from fossil enterprises from their investment portfolio and moving to greener sources of energy.

“We must seize the opportunity now. A decisive transition to clean energy is good for the climate and makes financial and economic sense,” de Guzman said.

“It is now imperative for our country to adjust energy models with the global trend in renewable energy use in mind in order to come up with roadmaps with definitive actions for the power sector, and eventually for the transport industry and other key sectors,” he added.

In October 2015, the Philippines submitted to the United Nations (UN) its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), which is the country’s contribution to global efforts to fight and adapt to climate change, to reduce by 2030 its carbon emissions by 70 percent, compared to business as usual.

The roadmap should also take into consideration the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal for global temperature of the Paris Agreement, he said.

Last month, the CCC launched its consultation-workshop among local government units (LGUs) in Davao City to craft strategies on how to integrate the NDC Roadmap in various national and local development plans, such as the Philippine Development Plan, Philippine Energy Plan, Local Climate Change Action Plan and Comprehensive Development Plans.

Last year, the Philippines, which chaired the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), led the campaign for the inclusion of the 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperature limit in the Paris Agreement during the 21st Conference of Parties in Le Bourget, France. The CVF is a coalition of 43 countries vulnerable to climate change.

On April 22, Earth Day, the Philippine government is set to sign the Paris Agreement, a new and legally binding climate change deal approved by 196 countries last December, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. PND (ka)