Climate and Environment

Marcos eyes gas as 'transition' fuel in shift to clean energy

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Marcos eyes gas as 'transition' fuel in shift to clean energy
Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr speaks to reporters at the campaign heaquarters in Manila on May 11, 2022.
AFP/Ron Lopez

MANILA, Philippines (Updated May 27, 2:21 p.m.) — President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is eyeing fossil gas as a "transition fuel" to renewable energy—a proposal that environmentalists said is a detour in the path to a genuine energy transition.

In a streamed press conference Thursday, Marcos reiterated his determination to adopt nuclear power, calling it the "cleanest and cheapest" energy source. Environment groups have stressed that nuclear energy is dirty, destructive, and expensive.

But the problem for Marcos is it will take a lot of time to deploy any power plant, including nuclear ones.

"So in the transition, we need to find another source, a cleaner source of energy. So maybe gas will be the transition," he said.

"Until we are able to sufficiently increase our power production through renewables, we have to find the pantawid from purely traditional to a new mix of renewable and traditional," the president-elect added.

As the Philippines weans off coal power, natural gas—or fossil gas—is being pushed as a preferred fuel. The Department of Energy, under Secretary Alfonso Cusi, is pushing to strengthen the development of the country’s natural gas industry in anticipation of the depletion of the Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project in Palawan.

Natural gas, just like coal and oil, is a fossil gas extracted from the Earth and burned in power generation plants.

While natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than coal, its extraction, transportation, liquefaction, and regasification result in the leakage of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Fossil gas is also touted as a “bridge fuel” that can help the shift to a lower-carbon economy by supplementing renewables. But for environmentalists, fossil gas is a detour in the road to clean energy.

“Marcos is now shedding pretenses of his clean energy talk and making it clear that he intends to continue the outgoing administration's fossil fuel-based pathways. In peddling the myth of gas as a transition fuel, Marcos is signing us up for years more of jacked up electricity prices, environmental and climate degradation, and an unresilient and unreliable energy sector,” CEED executive director Gerry Arances said. 

“We have long been saying that fossil gas is an unnecessary detour to what could be a swift and just transition to genuinely sustainable renewables, but those calls have fallen on deaf ears,” he added.

Groups also said that renewables, particularly solar, are easier and faster to deploy than natural gas. 


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