• Programs to cushion impact of climate change in place

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    The Philippines has stepped up the implementation of programs that seeks to cushion the impact of climate change, according to Climate Change Commission (CCC) head Heherson Alvarez.

    The former senator was reacting to the pronouncement of British Ambassador Asif Ahmad that the Philippines failed to follow his country’s aggressive programs in reducing carbon footprint.

    “Contrary to the good Ambassador’s sentiments, President [Benigno] Aquino is already pursuing a two-track energy program—an expedient program based on coal and fossil fuels to sustain high economic growth rate, and a strategy of developing clean energy sources to gradually displace fossil fuels,” Alvarez said.

    He added that Ahmad made the statement when he was in Warsaw, Poland attending a United Nations conference on climate change.

    The CCC chief said the ambassador may be unaware of the mitigation and adaptation initiatives that the government is implementing under the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change and the programs under the National Climate Change Action Plan.

    Alvarez, also a former secretary of the Department of Environment, said the President signed last year three significant resolutions—Resolution 5, a green building program between the Philippine Green Building Initiative, the International Finance Corp. and CCC, to establish green building standards; Resolution 6, launching a low-to-zero carbon program for local government units to make a transition from dependence on fuel fossils to renewable energy sources; and Resolution 7, a mitigation program which will drastically cut back carbon from diesel-powered vehicles.

    These programs are now being implemented.

    Alvarez noted that the Philippines is the leading Asian country in the use of renewable energy and is the second largest producer of geothermal energy in the world.

    He added that the government is already in the thick of preparations to eliminate the 500,000 jeepneys, which are run by diesel-fed engines.

    “Diesel-fed engines are responsible for the 70 percent of black soot emissions in our urban centers,” he said, adding that solving this particular problem could slow the melting of glaciers in the Arctic.

    Alvarez said the Philippines’ carbon footprint is negligible when compared to the United Kingdom, which is one of the world’s largest producers of carbon emission.

    “In the last UNFCCC talks in Poland, developed countries, UK included, have not indicated ambitious targets of CO2 emissions and a dominant number have yet to fulfill their contributions to the Green Climate Fund,” he said.

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