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Ph must take stand for 1.5°C goal at COP 28 – think tank

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As the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) begins in Dubai, UAE, the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) stressed that the Philippines must press weight to ensure a COP that bends the rod to a global energy transition aligned to 1.5°C.

COP 28 is seen as a pivotal moment in global climate negotiations, as it features the culmination of the first Global Stocktake.

“There could have been no better timing for an assessment of national climate commitments to take center stage than during the year that’s set to be the hottest in history. We know that actions being done to reduce emissions and address gaps are nowhere near enough to meet the 1.5°C threshold, even in our own country. As COP opens, there is a real opportunity and imperative to take action and address this,” explained Avril De Torres, Deputy Executive Director of CEED.

In the lead up to COP 28, civil society and global leaders have been actively calling for the Global Stocktake to guide the delivery of an energy transition package that accelerates the deployment of renewables towards a 100% transition, puts and end to fossil fuel expansion, commences a full and just phaseout of fossil fuels, and ensures the delivery of climate finance to developing nations – all to keep the 1.5°C target within reach.

“While the Philippines’ COP 28 delegation earlier on said that it intends to call for urgent climate action and will pay particular attention to loss and damage conversations at COP among other matters, it must also lend its voice to the call for a just and rapid move away from fossil fuels and a full shift to renewables aligned to 1.5°C. We are guided by the memory of the destruction from Typhoon Yolanda, which happened exactly ten years ago this year, in understanding that failure to end the age of fossil fuel dependence will only lead to more loss and damage. It will be a grave disservice to Filipinos if the Philippine delegation chooses to keep its mouth shut on keeping the 1.5°C goal,” explained De Torres.

The Philippine government is seen as placing high stakes on this year’s climate talks with the opening of the first Philippine pavilion. Until the day before COP 28, President Marcos was also slated to participate at COP but withdrew due to an emergency situation involving Filipinos in the Red Sea.

“The President may no longer be attending COP, but there is no lack of opportunity for him and the administration to prioritize climate action back home. Putting an end to the Philippines’ push for massive additional fossil fuel use, particularly with gas, is an urgent policy shift that can get us on track to 1.5°C-compatibility. For a country where 100% renewable energy transition is possible to achieve with haste, securing the requirements and will to make it happen will be the greatest testimony the administration can leave to exhibit its dedication to the climate cause,” said De Torres.

Ahead COP 28, CEED commissioned a study by Climate Analytics which found that a full renewable energy transition is feasible for the Philippines by no later than 2040, and can bring socio-economic benefits to Filipinos. Coal and gas need to be phased out by no later than 2035 and 2040, respectively. Contrary to this, the Philippines is welcoming massive new capacities for gas and LNG, and is thus set to contribute to more methane emissions. The country is a signatory to the Methane Pledge, which is also expected to figure in at the COP 28 climate talks.

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