institution backs CCC pronouncements on national energy policy shift
to RE, stresses need for just transition programs
September 29, 2017
QUEZON CITY –
Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), an independent,
non-profit, non-stock, think-do institution engaged in issues of the
environment, energy, and development in the Philippines, expressed
its support for the pronouncements on an energy policy shift as
stated by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) during the
commission-spearheaded National Energy Policy Review program held on
September 28, 2017.
“The Commission’s strong
emphasis on the need to make key shifts in the nation’s energy
policy is a much needed tone in our government given the pressing
climate realities we face today,” said CEED Legal Research and
Policy Officer Avril De Torres.
policies on shifting current destructive trends in the energy and
environment, the country cannot hope to see better environmental
conditions for itself and achieve its Nationally Determined
Contribution on emission reductions that it committed to as party to
the Paris Agreement,” said De Torres.
“One such proactive policy
direction is that which targets the fossil fuel industry, especially
the coal industry. Policies such as the imposition of taxes on coal
usage and on carbon emissions helps address the issue of high
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change in general,” added
De Torres cited numerous
data that hold the combustion of fossil fuels, especially of coal,
responsible for being the largest human source of carbon dioxide
emissions. Quoting a 2016 study made by the Joint Research Centre of
the European Commission, De Torres stated that coal combustion was
responsible for about 46% of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil
fuel combustion, with 31% of which is emitted from coal-fired power
“The fossil fuel industry
is a major contributor to the global GHG emissions. Imposing an
excise tax on coal and other such tax mechanisms on fossil fuel
products would discourage dependence on fossil fuel,” said De
CEED Research Policy and
Advocacy Officer Arvin Buenaagua claimed that a shift away from
carbon-intensive energy sources not only reduces GHG emissions, but
also helps reduce the costs of coal that burden a number of sectors,
spanning from coal-affected communities to regular electricity
“Although not reflected in
the price by which coal sells, coal comes with financial costs that
are externalized and paid for by society at large. These costs could
take many forms, such as rehabilitation costs and lost revenue from
communities whose environmental resources and sources of income have
been destroyed by the establishment of coal-fired power plants,”
“This makes a proactive
shift to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources imperative –
especially as the Philippine renewable energy sector has been making
great strides in driving down its costs and improving its
technologies,” said Buenaagua.
Aside from the reduction
of carbon emissions and prevention of further environmental
destruction as caused by tapping into renewable energy sources,
Buenaagua also cited significantly lowered electricity prices
offered by a sprouting renewable energy market – prices that are
projected to hit as low as below P5 per kWh.
concurrence with the Commission’s projected energy policy shift from
fossil fuels to renewable energy, CEED highlighted the importance of
further developing a just transition program.
“A global transition to
renewable energy is happening, at any rate,” said Buenaagua, citing
countries like Sweden, Germany, and China where shifts from
carbon-intensive energy are transpiring, “but it must be made
conscientiously so as not to leave anyone behind.”
De Torres pointed out the
lack of program that centered on groups most heavily affected by a
shift away from the fossil fuel industry.
“The nascent Philippine
just transition program, which includes RA 10771 or the Philippine
Green Jobs Act of 2016, although enthusiastic in setting a landscape
for a greener economy, overlooks workers and coal-affected
communities who have served as the backbone of the fossil fuel
industry and who are situated to be the backbone of this new, green
economy,” said De Torres.
De Torres cited the
growing, global movement of workers, situated in energy-shifting
economies, demanding for a just transition program. If the
government is serious in its shift away from the fossil fuel
industry, it should heed transition concerns of workers.
proponents have said this a number of times: a sustainable energy
transition is a just transition,” said De Torres.
“We cannot hope to build a
future ran by clean energy if we leave behind the very people who
have been powering our economy,” concluded De Torres.