By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 27, 2016 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has signed a resolution for an urgent comprehensive review of the country’s energy policy aimed at cutting down the nation’s dependence on coal and facilitate the faster shift to renewables as sources of energy.
The major energy policy review will be done within six months, to be led by the Climate Change Commission (CCC).
The resolution facilitates “a national policy review and framework development on energy, through a whole-of-nation approach, in accordance with a low carbon development pathway and national goals and targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.”
It aims to put in place a clear government policy on coal-fired power plants, which is the biggest source of man-made carbon emissions as it accounts for about 35 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“We are happy that President Aquino signed the resolution, which is 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,” CCC vice chairman Emmanuel De Guzman said.
“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.
Under the resolution, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) are urged to harmonize policies and regulations on new and existing coal-fired power plants and assess their impact on the environment.
The policies and regulations should also include low-carbon development and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in the formulation of all national and local development plans.
De Guzman said 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.
He said this transition is supported by existing laws such as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2011 and the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.
De Guzman also said the CCC resolution is an affirmation of the government’s commitment to mainstream low carbon development pathway in accordance with the country’s commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC).
In October 2015, the Philippines pledged to reduce its GHG emissions by 70 percent by 2030, coming from the energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors.
The Philippines supported the adoption of the global climate accord reached in Paris, France in December last year. The Philippine government signed last month the Paris Agreement on the recommendation of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.
The country also supported the adoption of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Reduction Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which both advocate for a balance between economic growth and environmental protection toward building a resilient future.