Govt starts coal policy review

by Alena Mae S. Flores –  June 16, 2016 at 11:55 pm

from Manila Standard Today

The Climate Change Commission on Thursday started reviewing the government’s energy policy to reshape the country’s power development plans and eventually replace coal with renewable sources of energy.

CCC, together with key government agencies, has six months or until the end of the year to conduct a national review and craft a framework development on energy, in accordance with Commission Resolution No. 2016-001 it issued last month.

CCC vice chair and Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman said in a statement the policy review was vital to fulfilling the country’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“With time running out to address climate change and prevent the worst effects of rising temperatures, countries must act fast and more decisively to cut down their respective greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5C,” De Guzman said.

CCC is under the Office of the President and is the lead policy-making body of the government mandated to coordinate, monitor and evaluate state programs to mitigate the impact of climate change.

CCC said a comprehensive review of the government’s energy policy involved a whole-of-nation approach to achieve a low-carbon development pathway and national goals and targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.

“One sure way to defuse the ‘ticking time bomb’ of global warming is to shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which is the main thrust of the most recent resolution issued by the Climate Change Commission and signed by no less than the President,” De Guzman said.

The CCC resolution calls for the development of a clear policy on coal-fired power plants, which are the biggest sources of man-made carbon emissions, accounting for about 35 percent of global GHG emissions.

De Guzman said CCC strongly believed that “transitioning away from coal is a cost-effective path to a low-carbon economy for the Philippines.”

Aside from the CCC, other agencies called to participate in the energy policy review are the Environment and Energy Departments and the National Economic and Development Authority.

De Guzman said the CCC would facilitate at least three meetings of the CCC advisory board, serving as steering committee; three sub-national business summits; 10 roundtable discussions; and 10 technical working group meetings throughout the six months of the policy review process.

He said the CCC and other key government agencies aimed to come up with concrete measures that would “lay the ground toward clearer procedures away from coal and on the faster way to enhance RE” like solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric.

“Our worthy task will allow us to fulfill our responsibilities, as public servants, to serve and protect our people from this global threat, and will inspire us, as human beings, with greater capability to sustain humanity,” De Guzman said

De Guzman said while the Philippines was not a major emitter of GHG, it could not allow its economy to grow with the ways that triggered the climate crisis, which affected the country and other vulnerable nations.

“Let us send a message to the world that if a small country like ours could make a big difference, what more can be achieved with economic superpowers doing their share to ensure a low-emission and climate-resilient future,” he said

“We cannot let humanity live in a world fraught with dangers to life and wellbeing,” he said.