3 FEBRUARY 2021, Quezon City – The Department of Finance (DOF) and Climate Change Commission (CCC) today organized a public consultation on the Philippines’ climate action plan, or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement.

The latest draft NDC would see the country committing to reduce emissions by 75 percent, 2.33 percent of which is unconditional, from 2020 to 2030, in the sectors of agriculture, waste, industry, transport, and energy. The country’s Initial Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), submitted in 2015, committed to a fully conditional target of 70 percent below business as usual levels by 2030, meaning it is completely dependent on international funding and other external support.

Reacting to this, Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the international policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said:

“We echo the sense conveyed by the House of Representatives in December 2020, and expect the country’s commitments to the Paris Agreement to reflect the highest ambition of the Philippines. We believe the target total -75% reductions offered in the current draft NDC is a welcome and mighty start. A stance of ambition is proper and we must have the courage to set aside political differences in order to chase common goals. We thank the DOF for establishing the proper approach. Bravo!

“Having missed the Midnight deadline already, we should not rush the determination of conditional and unconditional elements. Instead, we must closely engage and support the effort of our agencies so they may arrive at conclusions that reflect high ambition. This includes the provision of technical studies, evidence, and strategies that can help identify what we can already do without outside support, and what we must demand from countries historically responsible for this crisis.

“The NDC is the country’s industrial strategy, it is our investment agenda that looks to build an inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous future.

“We believe when the government ultimately submits our NDC, it must deliver both first and second NDCs in one submission. We have several examples of countries that have done this. Delivering one submission requires only a well-crafted sentence that stipulates consideration of our INDC as our first NDC, so that what we’re working on NOW can represent the country’s enhanced climate action. We can and must avoid unnecessarily doubling the effort of our agencies, considering that the next round of enhancement is aimed at 2025. If we deliver – in one submission – both first and enhanced NDCs, our agencies can focus on one single process of improvements aimed at delivering another credible 2025 NDC ratchet with similar ambition.

“The NDC we submit must deliver practical benefits to our agencies. We reserve further comments on many of the elements already mentioned. But for this consultation, we strongly suggest consideration of four additions that will increase the chances of our common success:

    1. Include the modernization of the country’s electricity grid in the NDC. We shall submit initial analysis on this based on our work with the Financial Futures Center, but in summary: including grid modernization in our NDC establishes economy-wide positive impacts that will for instance strengthen the collaboration between the department of Transportation (DOTR), Department of Energy (DOE), and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) by accelerating the modernization of public mass transport options that has long been the demand of the great majority of our people: commuters and working class households. It allows us to finally initiate long-term decarbonization strategies that must ultimately benefit working Filipinos. Furthermore, aiming the NDC towards a modern grid injects much needed financial and fiscal stability. It also elevates to the highest possible level the guidance of the DOE so they can exercise robust, sustained governance over the grid. When DOE has greater sway over the grid, they are given control levers through which they can secure genuine competition in the power sector, attract greater investments, modernize the ancillary services market, modernize supply through flexible distributed generation, increase installation of storage technology in particular green hydrogen, batteries, and our under-tapped pumped storage resources. The NDC must also include a demand for technology transfer and finance that provides to the DOE long-term energy forecasting capacity and technology to enable them to accelerate the energy transition towards more affordable, secure, more reliable, more sustainable flexible energy systems. How to do this is complex, but it can be done if our mode is tulong-tulong. It’s not only DOE but DOTR that is also reaching out for collaboration. We must respond positively.
    2. The country’s NDC must have a clear, finance component. Otherwise what we are doing becomes a mere technical exercise. The NDC is a major part of our country’s investment agenda. We must itemize to the extent we can the financing requirements in particular representing the NDC’s conditional elements, and certainly prospects are higher the more the DOF leads this process.
    3. We must support the DOE in filing claims to the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage. Our electric cooperatives are hammered annually by the increased intensity of extreme weather events, and our NDC should reflect this as well because resilience needs to be far stronger in our current NDC draft.
    4. If certain parts of our conditional offer are less than optimal in terms of evidence, we submit that instead of reducing the ultimate numbers, we state clearly that the full quantification and substantiation of our enhanced NDC requires further resources and support. Let the high emitting countries pay for the modelling effort and other likely more costly simulations and technical studies, even as they pay for strategies conditional on climate finance that are already quantified. Climate justice is our foreign policy – we must demand climate finance compliance from rich countries. Tayo dapat ang naniningil, hindi sila. Our DOE and DOTR colleagues deserve nothing less than our support.

“Lastly, we commend the quiet efforts of colleagues in the Climate Change Commission and to advance the work faster and with more quality — particularly on the basis of Section 10(d) of Republic Act No. 10174 — we strongly recommend the immediate inclusion of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the core of the Technical Working Group leading the NDC. We need DFA’s guidance, we need DFA’s leadership.”

CONTACT:

AC Dimatatac, media@icsc.ngo, +63 998 546 9788

Denise Fontanilla, denise@icsc.ngo, +63 917 851 4890

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