Audit sought on greenhouse gas emission level
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is pushing to conduct an audit on the level of the Philippines’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also called for an update on the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions after President Duterte ordered for the transition into cleaner energy alternatives.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on energy, recently filed a resolution directing the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the status of the country’s GHG emissions and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

The NDC is the plan to ensure that the country meets its intended commitment to reduce at least 70 percent of GHG emissions by 2030 conditioned on external support pursuant to the Paris Agreement.

The resolution was filed after President Duterte ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to transition into cleaner energy alternatives, including solar and wind, and reduce the country’s dependence on coal.

“There is a need for Congress to examine the efforts of various government agencies in arriving at their respective sectoral NDCs and their specific adaptation and mitigation strategies, and the status of the country’s GHG emissions in relation to the development of the NDC with the end in view of ensuring compliance with the Paris Agreement,” Gatchalian said.

“The State has the constitutional obligation to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” he said.

Gatchalian said the Philippines has until 2020 to submit its NDC, which details the mitigation and adaptation measures to be undertaken to address climate change.

However, the lawmaker said the government agencies “have yet to finalize their submissions for the NDCs and some are still conducting their respective stakeholder consultations,” six months before the 2020 deadline.

 Moreover, Gatchalian said the only available official data on the Philippines’ GHG emissions dates back to 2000 at 126.879 gigagrams of carbon dioxide equivalent.

It was in October 2015 when the Philippines submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where the country manifested to undertake a 70 percent reduction in GHG emissions from its 2000 levels by 2030 entirely conditional on external support.

The following year, the country inked the Paris Agreement, which establishes a global warming goal of below two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial averages and requests, upon ratification, for a definite voluntary pledge on emission reduction as the signatory country’s NDC.

President Duterte signed the Instrument of Accession to the Paris Agreement on Feb. 28, 2017, which was unanimously concurred by the Senate on March 14, 2017, thereby completing the ratification process.

The Instrument of Accession was accepted by the UNFCCC on March 23, 2017, and it officially entered into force on April 22, 2017.

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