In response to the bills filed in the House and in the Senate that seek to support the development of midstream and downstream natural gas industries, and the Department of Energy (DOE)’s promotion of the Philippines as a liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub, Atty. Angela Consuelo Ibay, head of Climate Change and Energy Programme of the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines, said:
“It is time that we recognize that there is no future in the exploration of and investment in oil and gas resources. Renewable energy is increasingly outpacing fossil fuels, while environmental strains, scientific evidence and public clamor are calling for a phase-out of oil and gas. Instead of forcing the Philippines to become an LNG hub, we should follow the global trend towards renewable energy, for the sake of a sustainable future for our country.
“Climate transition risks, as outlined in the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures created by the G20 Financial Stability Board, have already begun to affect funding of fossil fuel projects. A growing number of large public and private financial investors are disinvesting from fossil fuel companies, while multilateral institutions including the World Bank have started slashing funding for upstream oil and gas projects. Locking in further investments and into potentially detrimental stranded assets is not prudent, particularly in a post-pandemic scenario where increasingly limited national resources must attain sustainable outcomes in the most economical manner.
“As a country that has signed onto the Paris Agreement, we have a commitment toward decarbonizing our energy sector. Moreso, given the country’s abundant natural wealth and our importance to international ecosystems, we have a responsibility to protect our people and nature. The exploration of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, causes heavy damage to natural ecosystems. In burning and consuming them, we add to our carbon footprint at a time where climate change poses an existential risk to our country.
“To protect the habitats we rely on and to stay true to our international agreements, we must not expand upon fossil fuel exploration any further.
“Our people have suffered enough with the twin effects of the pandemic and the climate crisis. If there is one thing this crisis should teach us is we should always make our communities and the conservation of our environment paramount in our social and economic development. The current promotion of the DOE and the two legislative bills run counter with that and will not help in achieving the global 1.5 degrees target.
“We are calling on the government to abandon this proposal to develop the Philippines as an LNG hub and for the Congress not to approve any bills that promote and reward the exploration and investment in fossil fuels. LNG is not the promising transition fuel it is being made to look – the delayed negative and global effects of fossil gas like LNG easily outweigh the positive local benefits. Instead, we encourage the government to further accelerate our transition towards a green economy by pursuing our renewable energy options, rapidly phasing-out coal from our system, and by putting both people and the planet first.”