By John Leo Algo
QUEZON CITY – Living Laudato Si’ Philippines (LLS) commends the new moratorium of the Department of Energy (DOE) on new coal-fired power plants in the country. This is a necessary step towards initiating a just transition for the national energy sector, which is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions and a major environmental polluter in the Philippines and on the global level.
It also signals the long-overdue beginning of a fuller development of the Philippines’s renewable energy resources such as solar and wind, more than a decade after the passage of the Renewable Energy Act.
“As one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of the climate crisis, the Philippines has the moral imperative to avoid following in the same pollutive pathways to socioeconomic growth by high-income nations that have resulted in the climate and environmental crisis being experienced today,” said LLS executive director Rodne Galicha.
Phasing out coal and other pollutive industries and transitioning to a future marked with developed renewable energy resources are key calls included in global and local faith documents, most notably the Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and the 2019 Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Pastoral Letter on Ecology. This decision could turn our energy systems and institutions into models that not only respond to the cries of the earth and the poor, but drive our nation towards total sustainability.
“We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal,… – needs to be progressively replaced without delay. ” said Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ #165.
While the moratorium is welcomed, it is concerning that the DOE now allows geothermal projects to become fully owned by foreign entities.
“Even though this is intended to break the monopolies in the current power sector and spur the development of cleaner energy sources, this potentially places the growth of local industries, employment of many Filipinos, and even our ecosystems and patrimony at risk,” Galicha said.
Furthermore, we call on the DOE to turn this pronouncement on banning new coal-fired power plants into a national policy which includes clear provisions on just and fair transition. Along with other relevant agencies, it must ensure through an inclusive, transparent process that this policy is aligned with relevant national plans and strategies, including the Philippine Energy Plan and the Nationally Determined Contributions to the fulfillment of the goals of the Paris Agreement. It must also complement this policy with an adequate and strict implementation of existing national laws and policies in ensuring a cleaner, more competitive, and consumer-sensitive energy sector.
Faith group commends new coal plant moratorium; calls for just transition to renewable energy
By John Leo Algo