PH gov’t energy transition pronouncements fall far short of 1.5°C ambition – think-tank

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT – The Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) on Thursday slammed pronouncements made by President Bongbong Marcos on the country’s energy plans and the tepid participation of the Philippine delegation at the ongoing Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) in Egypt, stating that the government is placing Filipinos on the path of more catastrophic climate change.

The call was issued after the president called for higher climate ambitions in his opening remarks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, yet produced meager commitments in expanding the share of renewable energy in the country’s power mix.

“In aiming to raise our use of renewable energy to only 35% by 2030, the government practically abandons any and all hope of keeping the 1.5°C ambition alive. It is sending the message that the majority of our power would still come from coal, gas, and other fossil fuels, and thus condemns Filipinos to decades more of pollution, high energy prices, and permanently chaotic climate systems,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of CEED.

Latest research from climate think-tank Climate Analytics says that for the Philippines to align to keeping global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, it must phase out its use of coal and gas by 2035, and raise the share of renewables in the power mix to 80–83% by 2030 towards a full transition by 2040.

“The President claims to acknowledge that the climate crisis is ‘the most pressing existential challenge of our time,’ yet we do not see it reflected – not in our energy plans, and not even in the participation of the Philippine government here at COP 27,” Arances added.

Amid an intensifying debate in which civic and social movements and some governments of vulnerable nations seek to have the need to phase out all fossil fuels in the final decision from COP 27, the Philippine delegation has not expressed support for such a call.

“In failing to lend its voice to the call of phasing out coal, gas, and all other fossil fuels, the Philippine delegation is actually taking a clear position – one that is against the survival of our vulnerable peoples and the hope of a livable future for us youth,” said Krishna Ariola, CEED campaigner and a founding convenor of Youth for Climate Hope, an organization based in the Philippines’ renewable energy capital Negros Island.

A draft cover decision that came out early Thursday morning Egypt time raised alarm among advocates and frontline climate stakeholders, as it provides loopholes for retaining global use of coal and fails to even include gas.

“The Philippine delegation came here in Egypt just days after another typhoon took away the lives and livelihood of many of our people. Now, COP is nearly ending. The Philippine delegation fails Filipinos if it fails to assert our right to a swift and just energy transition and demand a rapid global phaseout of all fossil fuels,” Ariola said.