A climate group has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to call for a stop to the country’s reliance on coal and instead start a shift to renewable energy (RE).
At a media briefing in Quezon City, Ian Rivera, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), on Wednesday said they have marked August 24 as the start of a nationwide campaign to start the phase-out of coal and immediate shift to RE.
“Our solidarity and collective action is extremely crucial in the fight against the climate crisis. We must act with clarity, cohesion and courage if we are to help stabilize the Earth’s climate system and secure a just, equitable and sustainable world,” Rivera added.
To firmly resolve the issue on climate change, he said, the government must implement a moratorium on issuance of permits for new coal-fired power plants, including coal mining and coal stockpiles, and must scrap all new coal projects.
The government, Rivera added, must also review environment compliance certificates issued to all coal plants and projects; mobilize domestic resources as well as climate finance from developed countries; and implement a comprehensive program for a quick transition to clean and renewable energy that is affordable by and accessible to people and communities.
It should ensure a just transition, he said, by implementing a program for alternative jobs and livelihoods for all workers and communities that will be economically displaced by the shift to clean and renewable energy.
Rivera reiterated his group’s call for urgent actions to limit the increase in the average temperature of the earth to below one degree Celsius (from pre-industrialization level).
“Today, the increase in temperature is already nearly one degree and scientists are now saying this is no longer physically possible to keep it from reaching one degree. At nearly one degree increase, we are already seeing hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions losing livelihoods and homes, the exacerbation of hunger for billions. What more will a 3-degree temperature rise entail?” he said, reading from their statement.
The PMCJ believes that the Philippines being one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to climate change impacts, the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events like Typhoon Yolanda and monsoon rains and the prolonged and more frequent El Nino phenomenon clearly demonstrate the increased risks and devastation suffered by Filipinos.
It cited the Fifth Assessment Report of the Inter-Government Panel on Climate Change that was completed in 2014 that indicated that there is still a chance to stabilize the earth’s temperature to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, “the safest limit still possible today.”