by Alena Mae S. Flores – February 14, 2016 at 11:15 pm
from Manila Standard
Energy Development Corp. is pushing for more use of renewable energy and a reduction in the country’s reliance on coal power generation to arrest climate change.
EDC president chief operating officer Richard Tantoco said in a statement with the energy sector a significant contributor to climate change, industry players—government, investors and consumers—should all act collectively and decisively to switch to low carbon options.
Tantoco said countries that depending on coal plants, which offer lower electricity prices as their main source of electricity, had learned that such reliance could ultimately be very costly.
“On an ex-plant basis, coal may readily appear to be the cheaper option—especially with the recent crash in global coal prices—but what other countries may have saved in electricity prices by taking the fast and cheaper route is quickly being eroded by the mounting social and environmental costs that they did not foresee or simply chose to ignore,” he said.
“The truth is coal has costly externalities, way beyond the ex-plant price, and these have not been priced-in to the illusory ‘least cost’ equation,” Tantoco said.
He cited a study by the International Monetary Fund which excluded the environmental and health costs from the price of fossil fuels amounting to $5.3 trillion dollars in 2015 or about $10 million per minute.
He also cited figures from the World Health Organization on diseases and premature deaths that could be traced to outdoor air pollution caused largely by burning coal.
Tantoco said that the Philippines and 19 other countries comprising the V20 or nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, faced an average of around 50,000 climate change related deaths per year.
He said the number was expected to rise exponentially by 2030. The Philippines economically faces escalating annual losses of at least 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product potential per year, about P360 billion or P150,000 per person.
“The phenomenon that is climate change has never been territorial. It does not matter how much or how little carbon we emit today as a country relative to others—what should really matter is that the whole world recognizes that the Philippines will always be one of the hardest hit by the adverse impact of climate change, year after year,” he said.
“That as a country with limited resources, our capacity to respond to emergencies, disasters and calamities has proven to be clearly inadequate. We cannot continue to live with this fact unaffected, and we have to make our choices and set policies sooner than later to stop this self-inflicted harm on both a national and global scale,” Tantoco said.
Tantoco said the Philippine government’s COP 21 commitments, including undertaking GHG (CO2e) emissions reduction of about 70 percent by 2030, was a critical step in the right direction.