ICSC: Climate change to worsen water security risk

MANILA, Updated 14 March 2019 – As residents in areas of Metro Manila grapple with water scarcity issues for several days, a climate and energy policy group cautioned that climate change would only exacerbate existing risks and development issues. Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Manila-based Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, commented: “As a climate policy institute, we are often the first to convey caution in prematurely attributing adverse economic, ecological or social outcomes to climate change. Many times as well, climate change merely amplifies the impacts of wrong development policies to begin with. “Prematurely assigning blame to climate change for the current water issues of Metro Manila serves to muddle if not downplay actual projected water security risks that are several magnitudes greater than current challenges, if global temperatures continue to rise unabated. Just as important, linking climate change now dilutes critical accountability issues among government [...]

13 Mar 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Eastern Visayas leaders meet to secure regional climate investments

PRESS RELEASE TACLOBAN, 07 March 2019 -- Top representatives of local governments, academic institutions, and businesses across the Eastern Visayas region convened today to tackle challenges and opportunities in crowding in climate and clean energy investments in the region. The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), a Manila-based international policy group, convened the gathering focused on shifting financial flows towards resilient, low carbon development at Hotel Alejandro, Tacloban City. The event was undertaken in cooperation with the Climate Change Commission, Visayas State University’s Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies, and Action for Economic Reforms. Climate change scenarios vary heavily across the country and will adversely affect the development plans of towns, cities, provinces and sectors in Region VIII, according to Dr. Toby Monsod, associate professor of the University of the Philippines School of Economics. According to Monsod, the good thing is climate appears to be better integrated [...]

07 Mar 2019|Tags: , , , , |

Remarkable Women: Helping Yolanda-hit city with solar power

(Posted on Early Edition on ANC, March 06, 2019)   MANILA -- Women are helping Tacloban City rebuild from Super Typhoon Haiyan by installing solar panels. "Recharge Pilipinas" not only helps bring renewable energy to the mainstream, it gives the typhoon-prone communities a power source during disasters.  

06 Mar 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Consumers should not pay the price for risky coal deals

Sara Jane Ahmed Note: This commentary originally appeared in Business World. The rapid drop in the cost of renewable energy has opened new possibilities in energy systems around the world, including the Philippines. Coal has become toxic, both in terms of its high cost to consumers and the negative financial consequences for banks and investors. In India, China, Malaysia, and, most recently, Vietnam, a trend of cancellations and delays involving new coal plants has emerged. Vietnam is witnessing a rapid adoption of renewable energy while cumbersome coal power producers struggle to remain competitive. Here in the Philippines, the Panay Energy Development Corporation signed a deal in 2016 to deliver coal-fired power at P3.96 per kilowatt hour (kWh). But because of favorable provisions in the contract, the company was allowed to game the system. The actual cost to ratepayers was 37% higher at P5.41/kWh. San Miguel Corporation Global Power Holdings appears [...]

Former UN climate chief visits the Philippines to promote green investments

(As published in the Manila Bulletin, 13 February 2019) By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz Former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres is expected to arrive in the Philippines Wednesday evening as part of an Asian tour to draw in more transformative climate investments in the region. Figueres, the architect of the Paris climate agreement and now the convenor of the global initiative Mission 2020, is meeting business leaders and government officials to drum up and develop collaborative initiatives across Asia that promote investment opportunities, as well as assess risks, associated with inaction in the face of worsening climate change impacts. She visited the municipality of Guiuan in Eastern Visayas in 2015 with former French president Francois Hollande in the lead up to the Paris climate talks. On Thursday and Friday (Feb. 14-15), Figueres will meet with Senator Loren Legarda and other government officials, private sector representatives, civil society groups, and faith-based [...]

End impunity: ICSC statement on Rep. Rodel Batocabe slay

23 December 2018 -- The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities joins Filipinos in condemning the murder of Philippine legislator and climate advocate Rodel Batocabe and his police escort Orlando Diaz. Representative Batocabe, who had been serving his third term in the 17th Congress under the Ako Bicol partylist, was shot dead by still-unidentified gunmen yesterday afternoon during a Christmas gift-giving event in his hometown of Daraga in Albay, Bicol. He was running for mayor in the town in next year’s elections against the incumbent, who has publicly condemned the killings. Political violence in the Philippines often increases come election season, with political dynasties employing private armies and mercenaries, long before Duterte was elected president. The number of extrajudicial killings however has since increased; the death toll now stands between 5,000 to over 20,000. Representative Batocabe, a Duterte ally, “was the 21st official murdered since Mr. Duterte took office two [...]

23 Dec 2018|Tags: , , , , |

Tacloban welcomes opening of renewable energy hub

TACLOBAN, 17 November 2018 – Tacloban Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin led today’s opening of the city’s first ever Renewable Energy Hub (RE-Hub), a community resource center on renewable energy (RE) and sustainable solutions, within the RE-Charge Pilipinas facility of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC). At the RE-Hub, located in Burgos Street, downtown Tacloban, people can inquire about appropriate RE systems to address their household and community needs while RE technology providers showcase their products and services. It was a welcome addition to the current renewable energy initiatives hosted by Tacloban, according to Vice Mayor Yaokasin, such as the city’s electric jeepneys and tricycles. “For us Yolanda survivors to survive and thrive in the midst of a changing climate, we need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius based on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report. We want to lead the big shift [...]

17 Nov 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Ahead of fifth Yolanda anniversary: Women lead solar-powered drill in Marabut, Samar

MARABUT, Samar, 27 October 2018 – Women leaders of Marabut lit the way for one hundred residents of this coastal town this afternoon by deploying solar-powered lights and charging devices during their evacuation drill at the Marabut municipal hall. They facilitated the typhoon and storm surge drill with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, RE-Serve Humanitarian Corps, Marabut Women’s Federation, and Marabut Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on November 8. Twenty participants from Marabut and Tacloban were trained as Solar Scholars by a pool of women, most of whom are members of the RE-Serve Humanitarian Corps. They were taught to use TekPaks - portable solar-powered devices designed and built by Yolanda survivors - to power LED lights, mobile phones, and medical devices in times of emergencies. At the end of the drill, ICSC turned [...]

Vulnerable economies call for accelerated financial shift

Bali, 14 Oct 2018 – Finance Ministers from the V20 Group of climate vulnerable countries today sought large-scale changes to global finance flows, saying the funding shift needs to happen sooner, covering far larger amounts that can help protect economies from the worsening impacts of climate change. Convening at the World Bank-IMF Meetings in Bali, V20 countries said “the need to unlock investments for ambitious climate action is not only urgent but an absolute necessity given combined impacts from economic and climatic threats.” In its official communique, the group expressed fear that continued over-reliance on carbon-intensive energy systems is building accumulated financial risks globally. It highlighted an Ernst and Young report which indicated that €86 billion in carbon-intensive utility assets were already written off in Europe between 2010 to 2014. Similar write-offs within V20 economies would severely impair economic stability and growth of their economies, it said. The International [...]

14 Oct 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

UN launches landmark climate science report: PHL to survive, thrive if with bold climate action – policy group

MANILA, 8 October 2018 — Immediate and ambitious action to limit global warming is not only crucial for the Philippines to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, it is also key to unlocking economic growth, according to the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), citing the highlights of a major UN scientific report released today. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change today released the summary of a special report on the impacts of limiting global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) above pre-industrial levels, an upper limit which the Philippines and other vulnerable countries helped enshrine in the Paris climate agreement. “The IPCC report is a call for governments to step up their act in avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis,” said Red Constantino, ICSC executive director. “What is stopping the world from holding warming to 1.5°C throughout the 21st century, while reaping considerable [...]

PHL, Pacific island nations meet to ramp up public health, climate action

Editor's Note: Below is the press release of the Climate Change Commission on President Rodrigo Duterte's statements urging for global climate action. He and Health Secretary Francisco Duque spoke on the need for public health promotion and disaster and climate resilience in vulnerable communities across the Pacific.   DAVAO CITY, 26 July 2018 – A historic meeting between the Philippines and Pacific island nations opened here today to tackle urgent health problems in the region and seize opportunities to increase investments in public health and climate resilience. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who also chairs the country’s Climate Change Commission (CCC), gave a rousing speech in last night’s welcome dinner of the Asia Pacific Healthy Islands conference. Duterte framed the region’s health sector challenges within the context of the climate crisis, calling on all countries to honor the Paris Agreement and contribute their fair share of global climate action. “Climate change [...]

NGO hails Duterte admin approval of P192M for local climate action

PHOTO: Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez signs local climate fund agreements with 4 LGUs on March 7. (c) AC Dimatatac/ICSC   REACTIVE MANILA, March 7, 2018 – A Manila-based international climate policy group applauded the Duterte administration’s move granting close to P200 million in climate funds to four local governments. The approval is a response to communities grappling with food security and water scarcity in the face of climate change. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, chair of the People’s Survival Fund board, today signed financial agreements worth a total of P191.70 million with the mayors of Del Carmen, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte; Lanuza, Surigao del Sur; Gerona, Tarlac; and San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu, all of whom welcomed the development. Reacting to the commitment, Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said: “Setting up direct climate adaptation finance access for local governments is difficult but [...]

Policy group lauds Duterte signing of tax reform law including coal

©parys/123rf Historic coal tax hike targets imported coal from Indonesia, Australia MANILA, 19 December 2017 -- A policy group lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law today the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill, which includes excise and value added taxes on imported coal from Indonesia and Australia. The Philippines imports 75% of its coal supply, 70% of which comes from Indonesia and 15% from Australia, while most of the 25% domestic coal comes from the Consunji-led Semirara Mining and Power Corporation [1]. “The historic coal tax hike is a courageous start even if the playing field remains biased towards expensive, polluting, subsidized coal. We intend to work harder to ensure real competition prevails in the power sector,” said Red Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities. “Signing into law the excise tax increase on coal is an act of leadership by the [...]

19 Dec 2017|

ICSC hails bicam approval of coal tax hike

REACTIVE MANILA, 12 December 2017 — The bicameral conference committee agreed yesterday to increase the coal excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill, from its current rate of ten pesos (P10) per metric ton to P50 up to P150 per metric ton over the next three years. Reacting to the development, Red Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said: “The coal tax hike stands as a solid rebuke to the coal industry despite its best efforts to maintain their virtually-tax-free status for four decades. Once signed into law, this bicam measure would mark the beginning of even more comprehensive energy and industrial policy reforms under the Duterte administration. “This long overdue increase in the coal excise tax is a welcome start in signaling investors that the Philippines is ready to transition to cheaper and more reliable energy which happens to [...]

12 Dec 2017|Tags: , , , |

Policy group backs Senate’s P0.10/kg coal tax hike proposal for TRAIN

MANILA, 5 December 2017 – The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) today called on Congress to adopt the former’s proposed coal tax hike of P0.10 per kilogram in the bicameral conference committee for the tax reform bill. The Senate and House of Representatives are expected to tackle today the increase in the excise tax on coal, which for 40 years has been pegged at P0.01/kg. The Senate version of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill calls for the tax to gradually increase to P0.10/kg in 2018, P0.20/kg in 2019, and P0.30/kg in 2020. However, coal companies have been scrambling to prevent the increase of the coal tax, however small, according to ICSC executive director Red Constantino. “The coal industry has been getting away with paying just one centavo per kilogram in coal taxes for four decades. For too long, it has forced consumers to shoulder [...]

05 Dec 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

$21B worth of coal plants in the Philippines face imminent stranding – report

PRESS RELEASE MANILA, 12 October 2017 – The Philippine’s financial sector is massively exposed to the imminent stranding of proposed coal plants in the country, which amount to over 10,000 megawatts or US$21 billion (PHP1.05 trillion at PHP50 to US$1), according to a report released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC). “Prudent reform is required to level the playing field in the energy sector and to hold investors accountable for their own investment errors. The Philippines is heavily but needlessly over-dependent on coal, which is a losing gamble. The entire nation could be locked into two decades of paying for coal power it may not end up using,” said IEEFA energy finance analyst Sara Jane Ahmed, co-author with ICSC energy policy advisor Jose Logarta Jr. of “Carving out Coal in the Philippines: Stranded Coal Plant Assets [...]

12 Oct 2017|Tags: , , , , |

Philippines’ first solar factory promises bright energy future

By Ping Manongdo, Eco-Business, 25 August 2017Project developer Solar Philippines opened the country’s first photovoltaic (PV) panel factory on Wednesday, a facility which was inaugurated by President Rodrigo Duterte and hailed by observers as a step forward in helping ease the Filipinos’ energy woes and advancing the country’s climate fight. Solar Philippines’ factory is located in Santo Tomas, Batangas, a province south of Manila. The company promises Filipinos a 30 per cent savings on their monthly electricity bill by making solar panels and batteries more accessible to local communities. Solar Philippines also announced an ambitious plan to replace fossil fuels with 5,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power. The country currently relies heavily on fossil fuels, particularly coal, which makes up 44.5 per cent of the Philippines’ power generation mix. Speaking at the inauguration, Duterte noted that the opening of the factory is timely as the country needs to address increasing demand for renewable energy. “It is high time that we [...]