Coal-centric DOE hit as PH tries to fulfill Paris climate accord pledge

Published February 17, 2021, 5:07 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The Power for People Coalition (P4P) has slammed the Department of Energy (DOE) for its continued preference for coal even as the Philippines–a country vulnerable to the effects of global warming–belatedly revised its commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement.


“Not only does the Department of Energy commit to share possibly the least contribution in the NDC goal, it also explicitly stated that it would add more coal to the Philippines’ already installed 9.8-GW (gigawatts),” the P4P said in a statement Wednesday, Feb. 17.

NDC stands for nationally determined contributions. This represents the country’s pledged actions for the purpose of achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement.

According to P4P, by including the entry of “highly efficient coal technologies” in its measures, the DOE makes way for at least 5.4 GW of additional coal capacity. Coal has a reputation for being a “dirty” energy source.

“The government is disregarding the strong resistance from communities which will be impacted by these new coal projects, which include the Atimonan One Energy power station in Quezon, a province which, residents lament, is becoming the country’s coal capital,” the group said.

P4P is composed of civil society and people’s organizations, consumer groups, faith groups, communities, and advocates for climate justice and clean energy.

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) conducted last January another consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs) on the new or updated proposals of the Philippines to the Paris Agreement. Under the agreement, United Nations (UN) member states were supposed to submit last December their revised NDCs.

The overarching goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit the rise of global temperature to 1.5-degree Celsius (maximum of 2.0-degree Celsius) from the pre-industrial era in order to prevent global warming.

“Despite increasing its GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions reduction from 30 percent in December 2020 to 75 percent, the draft NDC (nationally determined contributions) and the recent consultation provide no assurance that the Philippines is contributing its fair share of mitigation efforts to the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement—a goal we so painstakingly fought for in international negotiations as it translates to a greater chance of survival for climate-vulnerable countries like the Philippines,” P4P said.

On February 3, the CCC, headed by the office of the chair-designate Secretary of Finance, presented the latest draft NDC. It included commitments of the energy sector, which is among the biggest contributors to the country’s green-house gas emissions.

On February 13, without its promised sector-specific consultations post February 3, the CCC communicated to stakeholders a revised draft of the NDC document.

P4P noted the current NDC target asserted only a negligible 2.71 percent with hardly any mention of how it plans to secure climate financing.