CCC sets sweeping review of PHL energy policy

President Benigno S. Aquino III has set into motion an urgent and comprehensive review of the government's energy policy to cut down the country's dependence on coal and move to a low-carbon future.

In Commission Resolution No. 2016-001, which President Aquino signed on 18 May 2016, the Climate Change Commission will lead key government agencies in facilitating within the next six months "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."

The 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.

Aside from the President, who chairs the CCC, Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman, vice chair, and Commissioners Frances Veronica Victorino and Noel Antonio Gaerlan signed the resolution.

"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," 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 impacts on the environment, as well as include low-carbon development and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in the formulation of all national and local development plans.

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.

This transition, he said, is supported by existing laws such as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2011 and the Renewable Energy Law of 2008, which are both for environment-friendly, indigenous and low-cost sources of energy.

The CCC resolution, De Guzman added, is an affirmation of the government's resolve 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).

De Guzman said an urgent review of the government's energy policy is necessary given the growing number of new coal power plants in the country and the global demand for drastic GHG emission reductions to achieve the primary goal of the new global climate deal reached in Paris last year, which is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Source: The Philippine Information Agency

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