By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY --- The Philippines must be the leading voice for vulnerable countries that will commit to a determined effort to fight climate change, Ako Bicol Rep. Christopher S. Co, chair of the House Committee on Climate Change, said.
Co, one of the country’s delegates to the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, said: “The Philippines must continue to be a leading voice for vulnerable countries and commit to an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement so we can give our country a fighting chance at survival.”
“A big part of our fair share of climate action is the removal of all coal plants in the pipeline and the transition to low carbon development,” the Bicolano solon pointed out.
The world leaders forged through the COP21 Paris Agreement held in Paris, France in 2015 to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by half each decade starting in 2020.
That means that world leaders must embrace the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest to protect the global climate for current and future generations.
“The transition towards cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy is a top priority of the Duterte administration, as can be seen with the ongoing national energy policy review. The president himself signed the Paris Agreement and has reiterated the need to develop the country’s renewable energy industry,” Co said.
Co also called for an investigation into what a new civil society report calls the “losing gamble” on existing and future coal plants in the Philippines.
“Renewable energy is the win-win solution for the people and the climate, and this report just further confirms this. I and the rest of the Special Committee on Climate Change will ensure that Filipinos will benefit from RE and not be short-changed by coal,” Co said.
The Bicolano solon also urged the rebuffing of the Power Supply Agreements of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) for the seven coal-fired power plants filed at the Energy Regulatory Commission.
He said the utilization of a cleaner energy supply such as liquified natural gas and renewable energy would pave the way for as much as 40 percent of savings in energy production.
Solar power plants are reported to have as much as 5,000 MW output of power generation, in which its utilization would lead to the lowering of consumer rates inasmuch as 40 percent, with P2.50 per kWh compared to the current production at P4 per kWh.
Co said in a statement that the Energy Regulatory Commission should conduct a rebidding on the power supply agreements to ensure that the partnerships for energy generation would produce the greatest outcome for the consumers who are paying for the energy.
Ako Bicol Pary-list Reps. Christopher Co and Rodel Batocabe, including House climate change committee vice chair Rep. Boy Blue Abaya, and Legazpi City Mayor Noel, were in Bonn, Germany as members of Philippine delegation to the COP 23 UN Climate Change Conference.
The UN Climate Change conference in Bonn, Germany is the next step for governments to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement and accelerate transformation to a sustainable, resilient and climate-safe world.