MANILA/GENEVA – 27 May 2016: The Philippines, chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, announced yesterday a new resolution that will set into motion an urgent and comprehensive review of the government’s energy policy with a view to reduce the country’s dependence on coal and move to a low-carbon future.
Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman of the Climate Change Commission described the resolution as “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.”
“It is the obligation of the government to act to save the people from climate change and not wait. The poor and the vulnerable stand to lose if we don’t act with urgency,” he added.
According to De Guzman, the review will pave the way for a swift transition to renewable energy, enhance energy efficiency and conservation, and ensure clean, affordable and reliable energy for the entire country.
The Philippines led the Climate Vulnerable Forum during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) and oversaw the adoption of the body’s Manila-Paris Declaration on 30 November last year.
The Manila-Paris Declaration articulated the common concerns and commitments of vulnerable countries and urged the strengthening of the UNFCCC goal of limiting warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The Climate Vulnerable Form Chair’s energy review resolution was signed in light of its signature of the Paris Agreement, which enshrined the 1.5 degrees goal, on 22 April this year, together with 175 other parties to the UNFCCC.
This resolution is a further example of climate vulnerable countries leading efforts to combat climate change, with Climate Vulnerable Forum members Fiji, Palau and the Marshall Islands becoming the first three countries to ratify the Paris Agreement.
The Philippines resolution is envisioned to set in place a clear government policy on coal-fired power plants, which are the biggest sources of man-made carbon emissions, accounting for about 35 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In their intended contribution under the Paris Agreement (INDC), the Philippines pledged to reduce its GHG emissions by 70 percent by 2030, subject to international cooperation support, with reductions coming from the energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors.
“We must aim for nothing less than the transformation of the Philippine economy with a low carbon energy development pathway,” De Guzman concluded.