“Further Consultations Before Implementing Paris Summit Commitment”

Now that the just-concluded Paris Summit reached “Agreements” that the world leaders claim as a big success in the common effort to save Planet Earth from the destructions of Climate Change, the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) urges the country delegates to carefully plan for the steps forward in adopting mitigating measures. The FPI signed the Manila Declaration supporting the government’s effort to establish the Intended National Declaration of Contributions (INDC) or the mitigation measures conditioned on these being aligned to national priorities, circumstances and capabilities.

In several statements prior to the Paris Summit the Federation has urged that the business and industry sectors be given more say in climate pledges. The industry group looks with caution on the government’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gases by seventy (70%) percent while noting that this is much higher than that of the big emitters; China’s and India’s actual commitment being still vague, the USA to 26 – 30 %. It fears that adopting wrong strategies to achieve the 70% pledge will hurt the Philippine economy to the ultimate detriment of the poor and the nation’s capability to institute adaptation measures against climate change – induced disasters.

The Federation has been advocating that the Philippine’s mitigating action be anchored on co-benefit measures that will not unnecessarily impede economic growth. Mr. Jesus Lim Arranza, Chairman of FPI notes that fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas remain the most viable alternative at present. The cost of electricity in the Philippines is one of the highest in the region which translates to burdens that the poor will have to shoulder. Moving away from fossil fuels will need long time to implement; however, the impact on global warming will not be significantly injurious considering the Philippines very low Green House Gas (GHG) and carbon dioxide inventories.

In supporting the President’s call for Renewable Energy the Federation asks for clearer guidelines noting the commitment to increasing “the 33% energy mix”. Mr. Arranza stresses that energy mix should not be measured in terms of plant capacities expressed in Megawatts but in production rate measurable in gigawatt-hour of annual production. FPI also calls for resolution of outstanding issues in the Renewable Act particularly in the implementation of Tariffs granted Renewable Energy players which imposes cost burdens on the ordinary consumers.

The Federation also noted the laudable but ambitious country forestation plan as declared by the President in Paris.

It believes however that thorough study must be first made as in establishing whether there are enough lands on which to plant the declared 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares to be completed by next year. Rest assured that the Federation will support this plan, Mr. Arranza committed.

Other than forestation, FPI urges that co-benefit measures such as improved energy efficiencies and usages, decongestion of traffic which is a major cause of GHG while creating unfavorable living conditions in Philippine cities be seriously and urgently studied by the government.

In making these observations the Federation pledges to extend cooperation with the governmental entities through thorough and meaningful consultations.