PH mission to COP27 must unveil plan for climate change beyond demand for climate justice, say environmentalists

The sustainability think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) on Monday said that the Philippine delegation, headed by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, should unveil the government’s plan to address climate change alongside demands for developed countries to foot the bill for climate mitigation and adaptation of developing nations at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP27.

The think-tank issued its statement on the heels of Yulo’s declaration that “The Philippine delegation in the following days will continue to assert and safeguard the country’s interest in climate change negotiation, ensuring that we receive the appropriate support and assistance as a country vulnerable to climate change.”

“We are one with the government in asserting our right to climate justice and reparations from historically polluting nations for what they have done. But our calls would have more force if they were backed by action to stop worse climate change. We can begin by stopping any further increase in the use of fossil fuels such as coal and gas in our energy grid, with a view to increasing the share of renewable energy,” said Avril de Torres, Deputy Executive Director of CEED.

In his address to the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York City, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said that climate change reflected a historical injustice where the least responsible countries like the Philippines bear the brunt of its effects. Marcos also called on developed countries to give more resources and assistance to less developed nations while including bills on natural gas development among his priority legislative measures and allowing the Department of Energy to increase the share of natural gas in the country’s energy mix without accelerating the transition to renewable energy.

“The Philippine government recognizes how typhoons have become more destructive in recent years due to climate change and that fossil fuels are the drivers of this climate change. However, this knowledge is not applied to policy decisions on the use of fossil fuels,” said de Torres.

De Torres is part of CEED’s delegation to COP27, to be held at Sharm El-Sheik in Egypt later this month. CEED is urging the government to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and refrain from further investments in fossil fuels like natural gas or additional coal.

“Renewable energy is cheaper and does not have to be imported, which will help solve our current energy crisis. Renewable energy is more reliable, unlike coal plants which consistently break down during the summer when we need them to deliver the most power, and gas plants that have been experiencing deratings due to Malampaya depletion and restrictions. Renewable energy does not produce greenhouse gasses, which is what we need to achieve the 1.5°C target for global warming to arrest climate change effects,” said de Torres.