The Climate Reality Project Philippines (Climate Reality), a global movement founded by Nobel laureate and former United States vice president Al Gore, lauds President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement on renewable energy potentials of the country during the inauguration of Misamis Oriental coal thermal plant.
“We are glad that the president recognizes the importance the availability and potentials of renewable energy in the country,” Rodne Galicha, country manager of Climate Reality and director of Ecoteneo of the Ateneo de Davao University.
In his speech, President Duterte stressed that there is still a need to utilize coal for energy for the country to catch-up with other countries to develop, however, he also emphasized that the “second and third generation will suffer would still suffer if we are not really able to utilize, what I would say, the solar and the wind…”
“If we want to industrialize our country because we were left behind by so many generations, you have to keep up with developments and… right now is to use coal, cheap, it’s available although it is maybe deletorius to the whole of the climate of planet Earth,” said Duterte.
President Duterte further explained that there is a challenge to stabilize electricy requirement and that in due time available renewable energy sources such as solar can be utilized with better technology and quick return of investment.
“But more or less, it should be stabilized for now. But we never thought that Mindanao would develop so fast that in a few years, we would be starting again to tinker with, maybe, in the fullness of God’s time, we would have something like solar or better technology but not expensive. There’s no question, they are available.” said Duterte.
According to Gailicha, the statement of the President Duterte may be viewed in the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances. This is one of the highlights of the Paris Agreement on climate in which, the Philippines with very minute carbon emission, is asked to determine and act on its greenhouse gas emission reduction contribution depending on its own realities.
“It must be clearly understood that President Duterte’s statements mainly echoes what our Philippine delegation fought for during the Paris negotiations last year especially on loss and damage mechanism, finance and technology, said Galicha.
He further said that the President’s call is also our call for climate justice which requires developed countries to act on climate-affected nations for loss and damages and provide finance and capacity building, support and facilitate technology development and transfer for our mitigation and adaptation efforts. Our commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions is conditional and we are not obliged to do so. It is dependent on external financial and technical assistance which the Paris Agreement assures. The way forward for a sustainable Philippines is to start a just and equitable transition to renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal and we hope that the President and the Senate shall collaborate as soon as possible to look at the benefits of the climate deal. (Climate Reality)