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Philippines set to make carbon neutrality commitment later in 2021

23 February 2021 Bernadette Lee

The Philippines is set to announce a carbon neutrality commitment at the next Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) multi-stakeholder consultation later this year, said Ludwig Federigan, head of the information and knowledge management division at the country's Climate Change Commission (CCC). No date has been set for the next consultation.

The country also plans to implement ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets by 2030 compared with business-as-usual in a number of sectors within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These sectors include waste, industry, forestry, transportation, and energy, according to Federigan. The consolidated figures and the percentages for emissions reduction were released at the second NDC multi-stakeholder consultation on 29 January, but the figures and percentages for each sector were not made public.

The NDC is the roadmap that sets out each country's post-2020 climate actions under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. It demonstrates each country's efforts in adapting to the impact of climate change and includes a plan that reflects its ambitions in fostering climate resilience and in reducing GHG emissions, while taking into consideration domestic circumstances and capabilities, said Federigan.

Through the NDC, each country shows the actions it is willing to take to help achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement of limiting global average temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"With this intent, [we will] pursue and undertake adaptation measures […] not only limited to the sectors of agriculture, forestry, energy, coastal and marine aqua-systems, and biodiversity, [but] in the hope that it will sustain our adaptation planning and resilience building, [bearing in mind] the mitigation co-benefits of these various measures," he told the audience.

The Philippines will face a number of climate resiliency challenges, including moving the economy toward green growth, moving away from the use of fossil fuels, creating green jobs, using renewable energy, developing sustainable transportation, protecting forests, and enhancing diversity, according to Federigan.

While the Philippines is not a major emitter - with an average of 1.2 metric tons (mt) per capita of emissions, way below the global average of 4 mt per capita - it has no intention of driving its economic growth with the emissions that caused today's climate crisis, Federigan said. He believes partnerships and implementation of the NDC will lead the country to green growth, with enormous opportunities for green jobs for the Filipino people.

Losses and damages

The Philippines has a poverty rate of 16.7% and is saddled with aging infrastructure and intermittent food and healthcare insecurity for some of its population, Federigan said. Climate change is only making the problem worse, and the need for solutions more urgent.

The Philippines experiences an average of 20 typhoons a year and almost daily seismic shocks that cost the country an average of 0.5% of its GDP annually. Losses and damages from extreme weather events reached 4% of its GDP in 2013, largely due to typhoons. In October and November 2020, typhoons cost the country $852 million in losses and damage in the agriculture and infrastructure sectors. In the energy sector, Supertyphoon Goni alone destroyed $56.3 million of infrastructure in 25 provinces.

"… it is apparent that the loss and damage impacts of these climate events are outstripping the country's capacity to withstand climate shocks," Federigan said.

Original reporting by Soo Cheng Lee.

Posted 23 February 2021 by Bernadette Lee, Principal Journalist, Climate and Sustainability, OPIS, IHS Markit

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