The Power for People Coalition (P4P) on Friday expressed concerns that the Philippines’ energy sector may be moving away from its commitment to achieving climate goals.
P4P lambasted the government’s continued reliance on fossil fuels, particularly coal and gas, despite a promise made three years ago to reduce coal usage.
In October 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it would cease issuing endorsements for new coal-fired power plant projects.
This move was motivated by the need to improve sustainability, reliability, flexibility, and the integration of new technologies in the country’s energy mix.
It was a response to growing pressure from civic groups and challenges faced by the Philippines’ coal-dominated power sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gerry Arances, convenor of P4P, said the coal moratorium “was certainly a step in the right direction”.
“It allowed for a massive reduction of coal capacity that had been in the pipeline,” he said. Arances, however, said the moratorium on coal plants had significant loopholes.
According to Arances, the DOE allowed at least 1.8 GW of new coal to come online during the moratorium and is allowing 4 GW of coal projects still being proposed.
He expressed concern that the latest draft of the Philippine Energy Plan suggests a substantial reliance on gas, ranging from 11% to 35% of power generation until 2050.
“Climate science is clear: to meet the 1.5°C survival threshold, a just, rapid, and full transition to renewables is needed. Is the Philippines abandoning this?” he said.
These concerns raised by P4P come just days before the 10th anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, one of the most devastating climate disasters ever recorded, which struck the Philippines in 2013, causing widespread destruction.
Larry Pascua, Senior Energy Campaign Officer of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), emphasized the importance of aligning the country’s development path with climate action.
“It is high time for the Philippine government to do right by climate-vulnerable Filipinos by abandoning a fossil-fueled business-as-usual track and fighting to meet the 1.5°C goal through a 100% renewable energy shift,” he said.
As the 28th Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change approaches, P4P called on the Philippine government to fulfill its responsibility in advocating for climate justice and to reflect these principles in the country’s energy plans.
Lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, Secretary General of Sanlakas, reinforced the importance of the people’s voice in shaping energy policy.
“The government’s current track of promoting fossil gas and delaying the full phaseout of fossil fuels is a track that the people will not allow to continue,” he said.