AS world leaders meet in New York City for the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is calling for more investments in renewable energy to reduce dependence on carbon-intensive fossil fuels to mitigate global warming.
In a statement, WWF-Philippines Climate Change and Energy Programme head Gia Ibay calls on local and global leaders to do their part in addressing climate change through meaningful emission reductions and mobilizing much-needed climate finance to protect vulnerable people and communities across the globe.
“We are doing our part – proving that we can rise above the strongest storms,” Ibay said, reacting to President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s speech during the event.
Aquino earlier highlighted the resiliency of Filipinos against climate disasters like Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm on record.
“However, this is not enough.” Ibay said, noting that the Philippines is now being hit by stronger typhoons and is considered as the third most vulnerable country to climate change.
The Philippines is a low-lying tropical archipelago besieged by no less than 20 storms yearly.
Ibay said that the world’s governments and business leaders need to disinvest from carbon-intensive fossil fuels and shift to renewable sources of clean energy today.
WWF believes in a two-pronged solution to address climate change. Climate mitigation looks at the reduction of global carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy (RE) sources plus energy-efficient practices and technologies, while climate adaptation considers the management of risk.
For the past four years, WWF and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) have been spearheading a study to prepare 16 of the largest Philippine cities to adapt to climate change. In 2014, spurred on by Typhoon Haiyan, WWF developed an ongoing program to help storm-wracked coastal communities build their own fiberglass boats.
Yet, despite the Philippines’ wealth of indigenous RE sources, the government has approved the construction of no less than 20 new coal-fired power plants. Most are expected to begin operating before 2020.
WWF strongly urges the Department of Energy (DOE) and investors to maximize untapped RE sources in the country.
WWF’s International Seize Your Power campaign calls on governments and financial institutions to increase RE investments to at least $40 billion (P1.8 trillion) by 2015.
For its part, though, the Philippine government is taking steps to mitigate emissions – with the DOE pledging to triple the nation’s RE capacity from 5400 megawatts to over 15,000 megawatts. This switch requires investments of $12.4 billion over the next 16 years.
“In the face of difficulty, the Philippines plus many other developing nations are doing their part. The Philippine government has only allotted P500 million in unprogrammed funds this year for a People’s Survival Fund to help the adaptation efforts of local governments and communities. It’s time for world leaders – especially from countries which emit the most carbon – to seriously commit to reducing emissions and scale up financial support for vulnerable countries to show that they truly mean business,” says Ibay.
Commitments from the UN climate summit will set the stage for more ambitious international discussions. Global leaders will again convene in December in Peru for the next round of UN climate talks.
WWF-US board member and actor Leonardo DiCaprio adds that, “The economy itself will die if our ecosystems collapse. The good news is that RE is not only achievable but good economic policy.”
DiCaprio has said that new research shows that by 2050, clean renewable sources of energy could supply 100 percent of the world’s energy needs using existing technologies, and it would create millions of jobs.