First Philippine Holdings CEO says destructive storms point to climate crisis


Posted at Nov 23 2020 11:04 PM | Updated as of Nov 24 2020 12:13 PM

First Philippine Holdings CEO says destructive storms point to climate crisis 1
Workers and residents wearing protective masks clean debris off a street that had been inundated with flood waters more than a week after the onslaught Typhoon Ulysses in San Mateo, Rizal on November 20, 2020. Basilio Sepe, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The head of one of the country’s biggest renewable energy companies on Monday said the storms that recently devastated the country point to a climate crisis.

“The destructive power of these formerly 100-year events has no doubt been intensified by the accelerating climate crisis, and they now hit us with greater frequency and regularity,” said Federico "Piki" Lopez, Chairman and CEO of First Philippine Holdings Corp (FPH). 

He added that the next 10 years will determine whether the world is able to halt the climate crisis in time “or watch it run away from us irreversibly.”

Lopez, who led FPH’s move away from coal-powered plants and into cleaner sources of energy, said the company adopted a new mission: “To forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future”. 

He said company officials used the word “regenerative” as they no longer felt it was appropriate to use the word “sustainable” in a world that’s so badly in need of healing and renewal.

While FPH is not yet “a full-on regenerative company today”, Lopez said they chose it to signal the adoption of this new mindset.

FPH also said the effort needed was “collaborative” as the company believes that it cannot pursue its vision of a decarbonized future alone. 

Lopez noted that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been clamoring for nations to cut their carbon emissions by half by 2030 and and further reduce this to zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2100. 

This was roughly a 6-7 percent annual reduction in carbon emissions till 2050, Lopez said. 

He compared this to the travel and transport reductions and the economic slowdown from COVID-19, which is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 7-8 percent. 

“In other words, we need a COVID-scale crisis every year till 2050 just to keep the planet livable!”

Lopez said this as he accepted the Management Association of the Philippines’ (MAP) award today as the MAP Management Man of the Year 2020. 

MAP said it chose to honor Lopez this year “for passionately pushing for the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy through his various advocacies to proactively address the irreparable damage of climate change.”

FPH, through First Gen Corp.,is the pioneer and leader in the natural gas industry. FPH subsidiary Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is the world’s largest integrated geothermal power producer, which also operates hydro, wind, and solar power plants. 

ABS-CBN is part of the Lopez Group of Companies, and is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp. 

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