A GROUP of manufacturing firms on Thursday called on policymakers, legislators and concerned stakeholders to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through alternative measures instead of curtailing industrial activities such as the construction of power plants.
Jesus Arranza, chairman of the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), said alternative measures include energy efficiency and the optimized use of natural resources, which are also consistent with the globally-accepted paradigm of co-benefits.
“There should be a deeper analysis from the relevant agencies on the level of GHG reduction the Philippines is willing to commit in the forthcoming Paris convention,” he added.
Arranza said the Philippines should not commit to a level of GHG reduction that will sacrifice its development objectives and be left behind by its neighboring countries.
“While the FPI recognizes the seriousness of the climate change issue, the Philippines only has a very small contribution to global GHG emissions based on recognized global inventories and official reports of the Philippine Climate Change Commission,” said Arranza.
Arranza said energy efficiency is already one of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) cornerstone projects and is, in fact, one of the initiatives promoted by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
To date, the country lacks reliable baseload power plants that can operate reliably and efficiently generating electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Creating barriers for baseload fossil fuel-fired power generating facilities, especially coal-fired power plants, are heavy disincentives that will eventually affect the economy and the consumers but will have an insignificant impact on global GHG,” said Arranza.
The DOE has also warned that power supply from hydro power plants across the country is under threat from a looming El Nino.
As the country progresses, electricity demand will increase and the need for even more baseload plants will heighten, the FPI said.
Currently, coal-fired power plants are the most feasible solution to address the country’s power needs, it said, noting that the DOE has recently endorsed some coal-fired power plant projects.
“Power plants which are ready for implementation and are targeted to address the need for energy should not, in any way, be delayed,” Arranza said.
The FPI believes that the Philippine government position on GHG mitigation should be in the context of sustainable development as stipulated in the Rio Declaration.
The Philippines is a signatory to reduce GHG emissions through co-benefit measures such as energy efficiency action programs and load balancing activities that maximize the use of existing energy sources.
The FPI is the largest organization of manufacturing firms in the country.