Philippines moves to cut dependence on coal


Posted at May 27 2016 04:12 AM

MANILA - The Climate Change Commission said Thursday that President Benigno Aquino III has set into motion an urgent and comprehensive review of the government’s energy policy to cut down reliance on coal and move to a low-carbon future.

Aquino, who chairs the Climate Change Commission, signed a resolution mandating the commission to facilitate "a national policy review and framework development on energy, through a whole-of-nation approach, in accordance with a low carbon development pathway and national goals and targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development" with other government agencies in the next six months.

The new resolution sets a clear government position on coal-fired power plants, which comprises the biggest source of man-made carbon emissions.

“We are happy that President Aquino signed the resolution, which is a major step to steer the country away from coal and accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy that is consistent with our efforts to fight climate change and pursue the development of a green economy,” Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman, vice chair of the Climate Change Commission, said.

According to De Guzman, the intended policy review will pave the way for a faster transition to renewable energy.

The new development in the country's energy agenda was welcomed by the non-government organizations and the business sector.

Red Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), said the new energy policy provides an opportunity to reshape the country's investment agenda.

"This is an opportunity to reshape the country's investment agenda. We need to grow and bring in the right kind of capital and certainly civil society is prepared to collaborate with and support the new leadership, if it favors sustainable, inclusive, resilient development driven by clean energy sources like solar and wind rather than lethal, climate-destroying coal plants," Constantino said.

Meanwhile, Tim Buckley of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said that the government's clear position on its energy source will avoid the increased stranded asset risk already evident in other countries.

"This move by the Philippines is entirely commercially logical, and avoids the increased stranded asset risk already evident across Europe, America and China’s electricity sectors," Buckley said.

De Guzman is hopeful that the new policy will positively impact the country's economy.

“Philippine climate ambition is predicated on changing our energy pathways that ensure we send the right policy signals to the investment community and generate jobs for the modern economy,” De Guzman said.