PH to lead ASEAN climate change ambition

The Philippines will share the inroads it has made in translating theories on addressing climate change into actionable projects on the ground with other ASEAN peers to help accelerate adaptation and mitigation efforts meant to avert catastrophic global heating.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that ASEAN countries are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of global warming, thus they “must vigorously escalate” their mitigation and adaptation initiatives and “immediately move to concrete steps to save the planet.”

With the Philippines sinking at a rate four times faster than the global average and confronted with increasingly more severe typhoons, Dominguez said the country wants to set a clear example of how a highly vulnerable country can move ahead with its climate action ambition.

“We are most open to sharing expertise, best practices, and technologies with the rest of the region. We hope our initiatives could be replicated and scaled by other countries,” Dominguez said during a recent forum.

“The Philippines will do all these with a great sense of urgency. We see global warming as an existential threat to our archipelago. We will respond to the challenge with everything we have,” he added.

Dominguez, who is also chairperson-designate of the Climate Change Commission (CCC), earlier led the Philippine delegation to the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Scotland.

As a new entrant to the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), the Philippines at No. 23 has outperformed its peers in the Asia-Pacific Region in terms of climate protection performance.

The CCPI tracks the performance of 63 countries and the European Union (EU) on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, renewable energy (RE) use and climate policy.

Dominguez also pointed out that the country is ahead in the use of climate finance, with Philippine companies having issued $4.8 billion-worth of ASEAN-labelled Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) bonds since 2019.

This figure is equivalent to 29 percent of the current total ASEAN-labelled GSS Bond issuances, the highest in the ASEAN region.

Dominguez said the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Indonesia and the Philippines have also launched a partnership for the trailblazing Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) that will hasten the retirement of coal plants in the country.

The ETM project aims to bring together financial resources from multilateral banks, private institutional investors, philanthropic contributions and long-term investors to trigger the Philippines’ decisive shift towards de-carbonization, Dominguez said.

“This is a model of cooperation that may be replicated elsewhere in the world where multilateral finance institutions, governments, and the private sector are aligned in their climate resiliency goals,” he said.