Members of the House of Representatives convened last week national government agencies to ensure that they are acting on climate change and fast-tracking the country’s energy transition.
Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda made an impassioned call for government agencies to do their utmost to implement climate and environment laws, and elaborated on House Bill No. 2184, her proposed measure to encourage low carbon development. The bill was the agenda of the House climate committee along with the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
“Will it benefit the country to become low-carbon? It makes good economic and environmental sense. It is good adaptation for local vulnerable communities,” Rep. Legarda said. “There is scientific basis to not do coal because it will be a stranded asset financially and economically, and technically the grid can no longer accept coal.”
Legarda was referring to the recent op-ed of Viking Logarta, energy policy advisor of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, and Sara Jane Ahmed, energy finance analyst of the US-based think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Department of Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella confirmed in the op-ed that the agency is aware of the energy transition already underway in the country, and that it is working for grid flexibility to enable the absorption of more variable renewable energy.
“We are working with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on how we can trace private investments with carbon-emitting industries to lower down emissions. We are looking at how we can do a proper transition, because we also don’t want our industries to suddenly shift the burden of paying to our consumers,” said Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez of the Department of Finance.
“As we speak more and more Filipino communities face the risk of climate change impacts, possibly more devastating, if not as devastating, as the very recent disasters we have experienced,” said climate committee chair Edgar Chatto, representative of Bohol’s first district. “We must heed this warning fast and without any reservation.”
ICSC stated in its position paper that Filipinos “must not get punished twice: The first, as impacts impose the heaviest burden on people who have had very little to contribute to this crisis, but also second, by missing the opportunity to transform into a low carbon economy and gain from economy-wide investments spurred by our NDC, as the country’s new industrial strategy.”