Advocates welcome Philippines’ COP28 renewable energy pledge, urge end to fossil fuels

Clean energy and climate advocates in Dubai on December 7 welcomed the Philippines’ confirmation that it is signing a global pledge to accelerate renewable energy at the ongoing 28th Conference of Parties (COP 28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

On December 2, the COP Presidency announced the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge with the endorsement of at least 118 countries. The pledge supports a global goal to triple renewable energy capacity to at least 11 TW and double energy efficiency by 2030. As the first week of negotiations ended, the Philippines and other nations communicated their support, bringing the total number of signatories to nearly 130 as of writing.

Avril De Torres, Deputy Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), citing a Climate Analytics study detailing a 1.5 °C-aligned Philippine power sector scenario, said: “As it is, the Philippines is a leading force in the advancement of renewables in the Southeast Asia region. 

“We welcome the government’s decision to finally sign the Philippines up as a signatory to the pledge, and urge it to translate this into our overall policy directions by ditching coal and gas, and halting any promotion of dangerous technologies like nuclear energy. 

“We are a country capable of more than tripling our use of renewable energy – capable, in fact, of a 100% transition to renewables in a manner compatible to 1.5°C. It’s high time for the country to seize that potential.” 

A report published by CEED at COP28 reveals that the Philippines, alongside Vietnam, is developing the biggest plans for renewables in the region, with the country’s planned wind and solar capacity alone accounting for nearly 44% of all 328 GW of planned renewable energy capacity in Southeast Asia. Upscaling of renewables, however, is undermined by similarly ambitious plans for gas in the country, with it accounting for about a third of all planned gas capacity in Southeast Asia.

Bishop Gerry Alminaza, Chair of the National Laudato Si’ Program of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-NLSP), said: “The Philippines made a step forward, and we are hopeful that it will not stop there. The entry of clean and affordable energy from renewables must come alongside the rapid phaseout of coal, gas, and oil. 

“We hope the Philippine government will use the remaining days of negotiation to build on this pledge, and use its voice to fight for a COP that delivers global commitment to end the age of fossil fuels. It is what is needed to avert worse loss and damage, which are disproportionately suffered by poor and vulnerable peoples.” 

Krishna Ariola, Founding Convenor of Youth for Climate Hope (Y4CH), said: “Any commitment to ramp up renewable energy development must be measured against the speed and scale necessary to keep the hope for a livable future alive. This pledge alone would not be enough for the Philippine government to be able to claim that it is fully and genuinely acting for the best interest of climate-vulnerable Filipinos. 

“The climate leadership needed by Filipinos today and in generations to come from the Philippine government is a leadership that strives for an end to the use of fossil fuels in our country and the world.” 

Photo credit: iStock/ Thanakorn Lappattaranan

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