MANILA – The government plans to close coal-fired power plants in Mindanao once it finds the financing needed to improve the generating capacity of Agus-Pulangi hydropower plant, a move aimed to help address climate change.
In his speech during the virtual launch of the Sustainable Finance Roadmap and its Guiding Principles on Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government is currently looking for a financing mechanism to improve Agus-Pulangi’s generating capacity as part of its commitment to utilize more sustainable energy sources.
“As we improve our renewable energy sources, we will retire coal-fired plants in the region. This landmark project will be launched at the COP26 (United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties) meeting in Glasgow. This could serve as a model for coal-dependent emerging economies to gradually shift from fossil fuels to more sustainable and greener energy sources,” he said.
Dominguez said a whole-of-nation strategy is needed to achieve the government’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent over the next decade.
Thus, the push for the passage of a proposed measure that will ban single-use plastics, he said.
“This is our way of encouraging every Filipino to do his or her part on a daily basis in ending marine pollution and helping save the world’s environment,” he added.
Dominguez said the government is also in the implementation stage for the solutions targeted to mitigate the impact of global warming on farmers and fisherfolk and those living in coastal communities “who bear the brunt of the consequences of climate change.”
He, however, said all these efforts will result in nothing without the necessary finance policies.
Dominguez said this is the reason for the tie-up with the United Kingdom government to implement the Asean Low Carbon Energy Program through the establishment of an intergovernmental body that will support the development of a green and sustainable economy.
The government’s Sustainable Finance Roadmap is an output of the said body, which is led by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Dominguez is hopeful that the roadmap “will inspire other countries towards adopting the appropriate finance policies that will help in the reduction of carbon emissions.”
“Even as the Philippines transitions to a more sustainable economic activity domestically, our own efforts may not be enough. No country can solve the problem of climate change alone. This can only be addressed through orchestrated actions by all nations. It can only be solved if the industrialized economies that have contributed and continue to contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions stay true to their commitments of bringing in urgent financing support to climate-vulnerable countries,” he added.
During the same event, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the central bank and the banking sector consider the roadmap and guiding principles “as key enablers in unlocking financing to sustainability projects and initiatives for three reasons.”
These reasons are the implementation of the Sustainable Finance Framework, which was issued in 2020; the promotion of participation and strengthening the confidence of market players; and steering of banks’ climate and environmental and social risk management.
Diokno said that for one, monetary authorities recognize the rise in social and sustainability bond issuances by banks.
“However, we can do more in green or sustainability loans,” he said, adding this financial product “not only provides an opportunity for smaller banks to participate in sustainable financing, but also promotes inclusivity as it caters to a wide variety of borrowers including the unserved sector.”