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ADB, financiers urged to stop bankrolling coal

Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) on Thursday encouraged international financial institutions to help the government promote the shift to clean energy by doing away with financing coal energy projects.

While the Philippines was doing community-level consultations for the effective implementation of environmental targets, the private sector, including funding sources such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), played an important role in the shift to clean energy, De Guzman said in a statement.

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The ADB, for one, has to play a major role in sensitizing the finance sector in the country, he added.

“Green growth, green jobs [are important] but there are still financial institutions funding coal power plant constructions,” De Guzman said.

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Coal—which emits large amounts of carbon dioxide that cause acid rain, smog, etc.—is starting to be seen as a risky long-term investment.

President Aquino recently signed a resolution ordering the commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the government’s energy policy to pave the way for a swift transition to renewable and sustainable energy.

Under the resolution, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) were also ordered to harmonize policies and regulations on new and existing coal-fired power plants and assess their impact on the environment. They were also told to include low-carbon development and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in the formulation of all national and local development plans.

The CCC resolution is an affirmation of the government’s resolve to put into the mainstream a low-carbon development pathway in accordance with the country’s commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC).

“Those who are still planning to invest in coal, I hope they will not pursue [this anymore] because they should get the signal clearly that it’s inevitably renewable energy,” De Guzman said. “The wave of change cannot be stopped. It’s inevitable. There’s no turning back.”

An ADB-supported solar-diesel hybrid power generation system recently began providing round-the-clock electricity to all 244 households in Cobrador island, Romblon province. ADB rolled out the system under its Energy-for-All initiative in partnership with the Korea Energy Agency, the National Electrification Administration and the Romblon Electric Cooperative Inc.

Richard Bolt, country director of ADB’s Philippine office, said the pilot project showed how clean, renewable energy could be tapped to upgrade existing local electricity systems and meet the needs of the many remote and energy-deficient communities in the Philippines.

The project supports the Philippine government’s goal of providing continuous electricity supply to 90 percent of the country’s households by 2017. As an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, meeting the electricity needs of remote communities is both logistically difficult and costly.

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TAGS: ADB, Asian development bank, Business, Coal, economy, financiers, News
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