Private sector pushes for sustainability: ICD to hold webinars with ICSC, Climate Reality PH

PRESS RELEASE Private sector pushes for sustainability: ICD to hold webinars with ICSC, Climate Reality PH   MAKATI, 12 October 2020 -- The Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), in partnership with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) and The Climate Reality Project (CRP) Philippines, is having a three-part webinar series on sustainability this October 21 and 29, and November 5, 2020. The “Pilipinas: Aspire, Rise, Sustain” series is certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as participation in this webinar meets the recommended best practices for continuing directors education prescribed by the SEC. It aims to help directors and management (1) define the role of corporate boards towards a more sustainable and resilient future; (2) integrate climate risks to businesses through the Sustainability Finance Policy Framework; and (3) understand the importance of sustainability reporting and how it adds value for businesses. The first webinar, to be led [...]

12 Oct 2020|Tags: , , , |

Mobility Awards bares list of first 50 LGUs, workplaces, establishments voted as most bike-friendly in Metro Manila

Posted on the Mobility Awards. QUEZON CITY, 09 October 2020 -- Ten cities, 10 workplaces, and 30 commercial establishments (including 19 malls)  have been nominated as the most bike-friendly in Metro Manila for the Mobility Awards, according to organizers. The Mobility Awards aims to help prioritize the needs of the majority of Filipinos who do not have cars. This inaugural round will focus on cycling in Metro Manila, where 88% of households do not own cars, but organizers hope to hold the awards nationwide in the future, according to judges from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), MNL Moves, The Climate Reality Project (TCRP) Philippines, 350 Pilipinas, and the Pinay Bike Commuter Community who held a press briefing this morning. The 50 initial nominees as of 3 PM today are:  10 local government units: San Juan, Pasig, Caloocan, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Quezon City and Taguig [...]

Climate Vulnerable Countries Call on all Nations to Submit Improved NDCs by Midnight on 31 December 2020  – a Survival Deadline for the Climate

7 October 2020, DHAKA/NEW YORK: The leaders from the world’s most climate vulnerable nations called on all countries to fulfil their commitments under the Paris Agreement, and submit improved Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by midnight on 31 December 2020, a survival deadline for the climate. The NDCs are commitments of what each country is planning to do in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adapt to climate change. Speaking at a Climate Vulnerable Forum event held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, presided over by Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, a South Asian nation critically vulnerable to a multitude of climate dangers, leaders underscored the vital importance of meeting this year’s NDC deadline agreed in Paris five years ago. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina said:  “Today we are at the most important crossroad of human history, facing the gravest global [...]

08 Oct 2020|Tags: , , , , , |

Experts call for collaborative climate action in Asia amid pandemic

From left to right: Dr. Mahawan Karuniasa, Ms Lourdes Tibig, Dr. Felino Lansigan JAKARTA, 30 September 2020 -- Climate scientists across Asia, as well as COP26 and UN climate representatives, called for urgent action and stronger collaboration in addressing climate change in developing countries, despite the setbacks brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an international virtual conference hosted by the APIK Indonesia Network (Indonesia Expert Network for Climate Change and Forestry), its chairman Dr. Mahawan Karuniasa emphasized the need for a low carbon and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. “Learning from COVID-19, we need to strengthen our stakeholder engagement, build better solidarity, and implement science-based actions in facing the climate crisis,” he said. The conference was officially opened by Dr. Ruandha Sugardiman, Director General of Climate Change of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry. “The world is still not on track to reach the Paris [...]

REACTIVE: ICSC lauds Duterte’s UNGA call to address climate change as urgently as COVID-19 

MANILA, 23 September 2020 – President Rodrigo Duterte called on world leaders in his first ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly to address climate change as urgently as the COVID-19 pandemic. “The same urgency needed to fight COVID-19 is needed to address the climate crisis. This is a global challenge that has worsened existing inequalities and vulnerabilities from within and between nations. Climate change has worsened the ravages of the pandemic. People in developing countries like the Philippines suffer the most. We cannot afford to suffer more,” Duterte said. “The Philippines joined the Paris Agreement to fight climate change. We call on all parties, especially those who have not made good [on] their commitment to fight climate change, to honor the same,” he added. Reacting to this statement, Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Manila-based policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said: “The Philippine [...]

Mobility Awards launched on World Car Free Day

MANILA, 22 September 2020 – The first ever Mobility Awards was launched today, in celebration of World Car Free Day and to recognize the most bike-friendly cities, workplaces, and commercial establishments in Metro Manila. The awards aim to spur concerted action among  government, commuters, and the private sector to make a bikeable Metro Manila, according to organizing groups Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), MNL Moves, The Climate Reality Project Philippines (TCRP Philippines), and 350 Pilipinas. “It’s a fact 88 percent of households in Metro Manila don’t own cars. They are the majority and should be the priority, not the 12 percent who have at least one car. Promoting cycling is certainly not the only solution, as active mobility requires improving walkability and public transport, but protecting the growing number of cyclists and encouraging others to bike is a real step in the right direction. Let’s make a [...]

Owning the sun

Lifting the 60/40 equity yoke on Renewable Energy investments, as advocated by DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, sparks an interesting debate on the ownership limits for RE. By Pedro Maniego Jr. | Published in Business Mirror - September 19, 2020 I’M looking at allowing 100-percent investment or ownership in renewables.” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi made this bold statement during an online forum of the Philippine Energy Independence Council in July. Cusi was also quoted having said he is “hoping it could be done with a circular through DOE, but if not, I will go through legislation. I will seek the help of the Joint Congressional Energy Commission to help expedite that so we can accelerate the development of renewables in our country.” We agree with Cusi. The need to attract investments in renewable energy (RE) is urgent. It’s high time we tackled the 60/40 equity requirement [...]

Mobility, a feature of democracy? But 88% of Metro Manila is at the losing end

by Maria Golda Hilario  |  Published in September 15, 2020 The world marks the International Day of Democracy every 15th of September. The United Nations has renewed calls for states to respect and protect human rights as the world responds to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a great day to think about mobility, one of the most essential yet neglected features of modern society. Broadly speaking, we can consider mobility as the ability of citizens to safely move or travel with ease and comfort in the country. It is about freedom of movement and as a right it is enshrined in our Constitution and should be enjoyed by all, in particular the great majority of our population, who happen to be commuters. Google’s community mobility reports suggest that since the start of community quarantine restrictions in mid-March, the movement of people nationwide within public [...]

MMDA Counts

A joint statement by MNL Moves and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities Today we mark with the rest of the world the very first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, a declaration by the UN General Assembly that underscores the importance of clean air to everyday lives and human health. We have much to contribute to advancing the common goal of breathable, livable cities. Data from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) National Emissions Inventory from 2018 to 2015 shows that 65 percent of nationwide air pollutants come from mobile sources such as cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses. In the National Capital Region (NCR) alone, 88 percent of the air pollution comes from mobile sources. Back in February, MNL Moves and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) reached out to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). We expressed our desire to [...]

Experts back DOE, Meralco lead in energy transition

MANILA, 24 August 2020 – Energy policy experts today affirmed an energy transition is well underway in the Philippines, thanks to bold moves from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the country's largest utility, Meralco. "Debates on pandemic-related power bills are far from resolved but we also believe it's important to share our view that power sector managers have been making the right moves to protect consumer interests for the long haul," said Alberto Dalusung III, energy transition advisor of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities or ICSC at an online briefing held today. "At a time when the public is dealing with so much daily bad news, it's critical to point to acts of leadership from government and businesses like Meralco." "Meralco followed the DOE's lead dropping the onerous automatic pass-through provision in its new power contracts so that its customers are protected from fuel price volatility and [...]

Energy experts, DOE to discuss future-proofing the Philippine energy market in Aug. 24 press briefing

CONTACT: AC Dimatatac, ICSC Media Coordinator: +63 998 5469788, WHAT: Online press briefing on the current status of the Philippine energy transition and future-proofing the energy market amid the COVID-19 crisis, in line with the opinion piece published in BusinessMirror last August 15, authored by Sara Jane Ahmed and Alberto Dalusung III WHEN AND WHERE: Monday, 24 August, 10AM via Facebook Live WHO: Energy experts, composed specifically of the op-ed authors and the Department of Energy Sara Jane Ahmed, Energy Finance Analyst, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) Alberto Dalusung III, Energy Transition Advisor, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) Felix William Fuentebella, Undersecretary, Department of Energy (TBC) Renato Redentor Constantino, Executive Director, ICSC (moderator) WHY: In this press briefing, authors Sara Jane Ahmed and Alberto Dalusung III will discuss future-proofing the Philippine energy market –and the ways in which different actors [...]

Is DOE at the tip of the energy transition spear?

Published in Business Mirror, 15 August 2020 by Sara Jane Ahmed & Alberto Dalusung III IN recent days, the country’s energy sector has been abuzz with talk from the energy managers of a drive to accelerate indigenous energy development. This is driven by the experience of the real fears of imported fuel supply insecurity for the whole energy sector at the onset of the pandemic,especially for the power sector. In private and public fora, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has encouraged bolder development of renewable energy. This drive is both patriotic and scientific. Rapid technological development driving the transition to a low-carbon economy means that electricity should no longer be expensive. Variable renewable energy can now meet or undercut the price of power from the electricity grid while cannibalizing the market for more expensive coal-based generation. This realization has led Meralco, the country’s largest utility company, to acknowledge the risk of [...]

ICSC echoes doctors, transport advocates’ call for safe mobility for majority

QUEZON CITY, 4 August 2020 — Medical professionals led by the Philippine College of Physicians today called for safe and sufficient public transportation for health workers and frontliners, echoing recommendations by the Move As One coalition of mobility advocates and transport groups to prioritize service contracting for public utility vehicles and pop-up bicycle lanes. “We, with the Healthcare Professions Alliance [against COVID-19], call for an urgent meeting with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), specifically through Secretary Tugade and Director Lim. Time for this MECQ is running out, we only have 13 days left. We have to address issues on sufficient transportation after the MECQ, even during. Healthcare and essential services continue to operate during the MECQ, yet it is clear that we lack transportation options for all, especially healthcare workers. The public health standards for safe transportation have not been released, we [...]

NGO reacts to Duterte statement that coal to be used for 30 more years, solar still not feasible

MANILA, 14 July 2020 – In a recorded speech aired this morning, President Rodrigo Duterte told military troops in Jolo yesterday he was “ready to open the borders” for trade, including for “big time coal.” He added that “coal will be used for the next 30 years” and solar technology is still unsustainable.Reacting to this statement, Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Manila-based climate and energy policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said:“Importing and burning more coal would not help the Philippines build back better. Coal is a losing proposition. In the country, new coal is a threat to grid stability and public interest if we do not take steps to protect the economy from the terminal decline of coal as a power source. If companies are foolish enough to pursue this course, the company itself, rather than working families and small businesses, should wholly bear the [...]

14 Jul 2020|Tags: , , , , , , |

ICSC joins distribution of hygiene kits in Bulacan amid COVID-19

CITY OF MALOLOS, 30 June 2020 – Over 1,400 households in Malolos and Paombong town in Bulacan received hygiene kits last weekend as part of the COVID-19 response of Partners for Resilience and Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (Cordaid) with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Malolos’ Commission on Social Action (CSA). Partners for Resilience is an alliance of Cordaid and four other Netherlands-based humanitarian, development and environmental organizations. Cordaid Philippines, ICSC, and the Malolos CSA have been gearing up to help the two LGUs develop their climate and disaster risk assessments to contribute to the Manila Bay Development Master Plan when the pandemic began. “There was no doubt that the program needed to adapt and respond to the urgent and pressing needs of the people of Malolos and Paombong. We hope the hygiene kits will help protect them against COVID-19, [...]

“Liberate the 88%!”: Rep. Legarda echoes experts’ calls to prioritize Metro Manila majority of non-car owners

QUEZON CITY, June 11, 2020 – On the eve of Independence Day, Antique Representative and Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda headed a multisectoral call for government to move people, not cars, as the mobility talks she co-organized with the Climate Change Commission [1] revolved around research that 88% of households in Metro Manila and the rest of the Greater Manila Area do not own cars, while the remaining 12% own at least one [2]. “What we want now is nothing less than the liberation of 88% of Metro Manila households who, because they do not have the fortune of owning cars, they remain imprisoned by the lack of inclusive sustainable mobility options. And as long as we in government prioritize the minority, which is only 12% of households who own cars, how can we call ourselves free?” Rep. Legarda said. “Happy Independence from fossil fuels! Happy Independence from rigid, outdated [...]

Covid-19: Lessons for the Philippine power sector

Published in Business Mirror, 08 June 2020 DOWNLOAD PDF By Sara Jane Ahmed, Alberto Dalusung III, Jose Logarta Jr., and Pete Maniego Jr. WHEN the novel coronavirus first appeared in China late last year, nobody expected that the new disease, officially dubbed Covid-19 by the World Health Organization in February 2020, would become a global pandemic. Advanced and developing economies were ill prepared for its impact. Public health systems were overwhelmed. Broad and restrictive quarantine measures, including lockdowns, were imposed, severely restricting global and domestic economic activity. The preliminary numbers indicate the impact on the global economy will be worse than the financially-induced global recession in 2007-2009. The country’s financial and economic managers strived to mitigate the pandemic’s effects on the marginalized sectors by realigning budgets and mobilizing new funds from borrowings. Opportunely, the country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals made this possible. The spread of the virus [...]

Flatten the COVID-19 and climate curves

Below is the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities' statement at the 04 June 2020 hearing of the House of Representatives' Committee on Climate Change, as delivered by ICSC executive director Renato Redentor Constantino. The Committee, chaired by Rep. Edgar Chatto, considered House Resolutions 724 and 761, calling for the declaration of a climate emergency and briefing on the programs and activities of concerned government agencies on climate change and the environment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Good morning colleagues.We wish to thank the House Committee on Climate Change, ably chaired by Rep. Edgar Chatto and supported by the always professional Committee Secretariat, for organizing this hearing.As an international climate policy group based in Metro Manila, we are eager to contribute some insights to the discussion. We wish to do so by recalling the memory of former Senator Heherson Alvarez, who passed away recently. The memory of [...]

04 Jun 2020|Tags: , , , |

ICSC calls on executive to support Legarda’s call to move people, not cars

QUEZON CITY, 22 May 2020 – Antique Representative and Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda today called on the Metro Manila Council under the Metro Manila Development Authority to set up protected bike lanes and develop a bike masterplan. This was followed by Col. Edison ‘Bong’ Nebrija, MMDA traffic operations chief, commenting this morning that "we are moving towards the New Normal with many citizens advocating for sustainable and inclusive mobility. I’m glad our lawmakers are stepping up to make this possible." Reacting to this, Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the climate and energy policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), said: “Representative Loren Legarda´s move is the kind of leadership the country needs as the public grapples with the pandemic and the worsening climate crisis. Her call was already common sense before the onset of COVID-19 and it´s even more urgent now to look far ahead [...]

Philippine central bank signs sustainable finance framework

30 April 2020 — The Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) signed yesterday its Sustainable Finance Framework recognizing that “physical and transition risks arising from climate change could result in significant societal, economic and financial risks affecting the banks and their stakeholders.” The framework also includes green finance for climate change adaptation and mitigation projects in its definition of sustainable finance. Experts say the BSP framework sets the precedence to start not only pricing climate and transition risk, but also valuing climate-resilient and low-carbon opportunities. The Sustainable Finance Framework was published as BSP Circular No. 1085, Series of 2020, as posted below.

Together against climate change

Reposted from südostasien, read original article here. By Denise Margaret Matias & Danica Marie Supnet Southeast Asia/Philippines: Although the region is strongly affected by the consequences of climate change, representatives from Southeast Asia are hardly present in international climate committees. Cross-sectoral cooperation from local to international level is essential to combat the causes of climate change and mitigate its consequences. While the effects of climate change in Southeast Asia are primarily strong typhoons and floods are known, the so-called slow onset events (SOE) also have serious consequences. Among the SOEs are rising sea levels, rising temperatures, ocean acidification, glacier retreat, salinisation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and desertification. The gradual development of SOEs sometimes makes them invisible to the climate regime. Their direct attribution to anthropogenic climate change is not always easy to determine. Politicians negotiate without the bid of urgency Coral bleaching in the Boronayan reef in Guiuan [...]

Heherson Alvarez, in memoriam

by Renato Redentor Constantino, 20 April 2020 To friends he was Sonny Alvarez, a man who carried many titles in his storied life. Senator and congressman, oppositionist and cabinet secretary, human rights advocate and environmentalist. As politicians go, he was imperfect, as pretty much all politicians are, especially those who've stayed in the public eye long enough. But he made his mark indelible in many areas — ahead of most who today have acquired the platform he once dominated through sheer will and perseverance, and as a result it is easy to reach a conclusion only a few will ever enjoy: in the end Heherson Alvarez served his country well. It is easy to dismiss politicians, particularly in our current period and its toxic habit of framing every debate with maximal partisan politics and creating a quarrel between caricatures — a brutish ruling regime and its troglodyte supporters versus [...]

20 Apr 2020|Tags: , , |

Solons, DOE support transition to renewable energy

PRESS RELEASE Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities Solons, DOE support transition to renewable energy HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 26 February 2020 – Members of the House of Representatives today convened national government agencies to ensure that they are acting on climate change and fast-tracking the country’s energy transition. Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda made an impassioned call for government agencies to do their utmost to implement climate and environment laws, and elaborated on House Bill No. 2184, her proposed measure to encourage low carbon development. The bill was the agenda of the House climate committee along with the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). “Will it benefit the country to become low-carbon? It makes good economic and environmental sense. It is good adaptation for local vulnerable communities,” Rep. Legarda said. “There is scientific basis to not do coal because it will be a stranded asset financially and economically, and technically the grid [...]

Impact of rising sea levels on the Philippines earns global coverage

By Catalina Ricci S. Madarang   February 25, 2020 Published by Interaksyon Homes of millions of Filipinos living in coastal and low-lying areas are at risk of being submerged due to rising ocean and sea levels as an effect of global climate change. The impact on the City of Manila and Batasan Island in Bohol, home to more than 14 million Filipinos combined, and how the residents adapt to their situations were covered by the New York Times this February. The sprawling metropolis is also one of the areas in the Philippines projected to be consumed by waters in the next three decades, according to a study by Climate Central. How Batasan Island adapts An article from The New York Times recounts how the residents of Batasan Island, a small community in Bohol of around 1,400 people, are coping amid rising sea levels. The island, part of the Tubigon [...]

25 Feb 2020|Tags: , |

Is coal dying, or dead, in the Philippines?

Reposted from BusinessMirror, read original article here. By Viking Logarta & Sara Jane Ahmed Yes to the first, and a nuanced no to the second. President Duterte said in his State of the Nation Address last year: “We recognize the urgent need to ensure the sustainability and availability of resources, and the development of alternative ones. In this regard, I trust that Secretary Cusi shall fast-track also the development of renewable-energy sources, and reduce dependence on the traditional energy sources, such as coal.” The Department of Energy (DOE) is not only aware of this growing dependence and growing grid instability as a result, but also welcome support to help address challenges of the rapidly developing power sector terrain. The DOE has determined that there is already an excess of coal plant capacity (and of other so-called base load capacity) in the grids, causing instability. It is not just coal, [...]

A Crisis Right Now: San Francisco and Manila Face Rising Seas

Somini Sengupta, The New York Times global climate reporter, and Chang W. Lee, a photographer for The Times, traveled to the Philippines and California to see how rising sea levels are affecting two big metropolitan areas. Published Feb. 13, 2020 in New York Times What do you do when the sea comes for your home, your school, your church? You could try to hold back the water. Or you could raise your house. Or you could just leave. An estimated 600 million people live directly on the world’s coastlines, among the most hazardous places to be in the era of climate change. According to scientific projections, the oceans stand to rise by one to four feet by the end of the century, with projections of more ferocious storms and higher tides that could upend the lives of entire communities. Many people face the risks right now. Two sprawling metropolitan [...]

13 Feb 2020|Tags: , , |

OPINION: Is the Philippine national grid vulnerable to cyber-attacks?

by Jessa Ibañez and Kenneth Daniel Quesada, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities Pusblished in ABS-CBN News, Feb 11, 2020 Grid security was identified as an urgent national concern in last week’s Senate energy hearing, given not only that the State Grid Corporation of China's 40 percent ownership of the national grid operating concession but also increased cyber-terrorism activity globally. The Department of Energy (DOE) and National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) have been demanding the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to submit themselves to a technical audit since 2017, but this call is now more imperative as NGCP president and CEO Anthony Almeda divulged that the NGCP has come under attack “a hundred times already” in the preceding two weeks alone. “Cyber-attacks on a power grid is becoming a reality,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian warned during the hearing, in light of the unprecedented hack on Ukraine’s power grid last [...]

Alas ng Bayan exhibit opens in UP College of Fine Arts for Arts Month

QUEZON CITY, 6 February 2020 -- The pioneering art exhibit Alas ng Bayan opened its two-week run today at the University of the Philippines Diliman’s College of Fine Arts, marking National Arts Month. “Alas ng Bayan couldn’t be more timely in these trying times. We look for heroes, we look for hope, we look for a future. To look back may help us move forward,” UP CFA Dean Mitzi Marie Aguilar-Reyes said as she opened the exhibit. It will be hosted by the college’s Corredor Gallery until February 19. The ‘herstory’ exhibit, jointly organized by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), the Constantino Foundation, and 350 Pilipinas, features the paintings of five Filipina heroines who resisted national oppression, social injustice, and false gender narratives across different junctures of Philippine history: Gregoria de Jesus (Lakambini ng Katipunan), Apolonia Catra (lone recorded Filipina soldier with Macario Sakay's forces), Remedios Gomez-Paraiso [...]

Alas Ng Bayan opens in De La Salle University

The Alas Ng Bayan exhibit opened at the De La Salle University (DLSU) on January 27, 2020 and will run up to January 31. Jointly organized by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, the Constantino Foundation, and 350 Pilipinas, the exhibit launched at The Learning Commons of DLSU, hosted by the university’s Department of History and the Libraries. Dr. Ma. Florina Orillos-Juan, chair and associate professor of the DLSU Department of History, welcomed the organizers, fellow faculty and history students to the launch, noting that women have been regarded as footnotes in Philippine history. By putting a spotlight on Gregoria “Oriang” de Jesus, Apolonia Catra, Remedios “Kumander Liwayway” Gomez-Paraiso, Lorena Barros, and Gloria Capitan, the exhibit aims to raise awareness about the intersections between women, history, memory, climate change, and citizenship. “Our intention is to inject history and feminism as fundamental elements in the way young people respond to [...]

28 Jan 2020|Tags: , , , |

Climate Risks increasing worldwide – even for High-Income Countries

Global Climate Risk Index: Japan and Germany hit hardest by heat waves and drought in 2018 Philippines on rank 2 struck by tropical cyclones Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti with highest weather-related losses 1999 - 2018 Nearly 500,000 people killed as a result of more than 12,000 extreme weather events that caused 3.5 trillion US-Dollars in damages Madrid (4th Dec. 2019). Severe heat waves, drought and flooding: Extreme weather events are massive challenges especially for poor and vulnerable countries - but also high-income countries are threatened more and more by climate risks. The Global Climate Risk Index, published today by the environmental think tank Germanwatch, shows that in 2018 industrialized countries like Japan and Germany were hit hardest by heat waves and severe drought. The Philippines were hit by the most powerful typhoon recorded worldwide in 2018. Looking at the years from 1999 to 2018, poor countries had to face [...]

05 Dec 2019|Tags: , , |

Vulnerable Leaders Call: COP25 must secure 2020 action for survival of nations

Vulnerable nations call for COP25 decision to increase ambition of NDCs in 2020 Aim to mobilize $20 billion in the next two years to finance innovations for vulnerable economies Call for UN Special Rapporteur on climate change backed by new vulnerable nations’ Fund Bangladesh announced as incoming Climate Vulnerable Forum Chair for 2020 Download the press release in English (pdf, 0.2mb) View the entire event (hi-res video) Madrid, 2nd December 2019 – Heads of state and government from the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) today linked the survival of vulnerable nations to all parties to the Paris Agreement delivering new nationally determined contributions by 2020 to safeguard the 1.5C degrees limit to warming. The leaders called for a COP25 decision for all nations to adopt higher ambition efforts by next year. President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands said: “The most vulnerable already face death row. Not coming forward with a [...]

02 Dec 2019|Tags: , , , , |

5 Filipina heroines lauded in new ‘Alas ng Bayan’ exhibit

PRESS RELEASE QUEZON CITY, 25 November 2019 – A ‘herstory’ exhibit was opened at the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Asian Center today, featuring the paintings of five Filipinas who resisted national oppression, social injustice, and rank misogyny throughout the country’s history. Dubbed ‘Alas ng Bayan’ the exhibit showcases the lives of Gregoria ‘Oriang’ de Jesus (Lakambini ng Katipunan), Apolonia Catra (lone recorded woman officer with Macario Sakay's forces), Remedios Gomez-Paraiso (Hukbalahap's Kumander Liwayway), Lorena Barros (Martial Law activist), and Gloria Capitan (Bataan anti-coal activist). The exhibit is being organized by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), Constantino Foundation, and Pilipinas to raise awareness on the intersections between women, history, memory, climate change, and citizenship. “We have been taught about the lives of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio since grade school, while women heroes are rarely featured in history lessons. ‘Alas ng Bayan’ aims to correct [...]

Gov’t, finance sector unite for more accessible climate finance for LGUs

PASAY CITY, 19 November 2019 -- Representatives from the Climate Change Commission (CCC), the finance sector, civil society, and local government units discussed here today how to make climate finance more accessible in the country as part of the week-long celebration of National Climate Change Consciousness Week.“Now more than ever, we need to ensure the mobilization of finance flows towards the adaptation needs of our most vulnerable communities,” said Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman as he opened the event organized by CCC in partnership with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC). “We need to do this faster, we need it to be in greater scale, and we need to be more responsive.”Speakers from CCC, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) shared the current state of climate finance and existing finance mechanisms available in the country, including the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) and [...]

PH corporate directors to address climate change, sustainability in forum

Institute of Corporate Directors Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities Ayala Corporation PRESS RELEASE MAKATI, 14 November 2019 – The Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), in partnership with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) and Ayala Corporation, is organizing a forum on tackling climate change and sustainability in the boardroom this Tuesday, November 19, at the Makati Diamond Residences. “Integrating Sustainability and Innovation in Corporate Strategy”, the last forum in ICD’s Distinguished Corporate Governance Speaker Series this year, comes ahead of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new rules requiring all publicly-listed companies to submit sustainability reports starting next year. The first panel, “Integrating Sustainability in Corporate Strategy”, will feature SEC Commissioner Ephyro Amatong; climate change and sustainable development expert Matthew McKinnon, founder and executive director of the Swiss nonprofit AROHA; climate and energy finance advisor Sara Jane Ahmed, analyst of the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and [...]

Maniego: Open all power supply bids

Press statement by Atty. Pedro H. Maniego Jr. Senior Policy Advisor, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities Former Chairman, National Renewable Energy Board Adviser and Former Chairman, UP Engineering Research and Development Foundation Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian’s call on the need for an open and transparent bidding in Meralco’s competitive selection process is totally in line with the policy under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of ensuring “transparent and reasonable prices of electricity in a regime of free and fair competition and full public accountability.” In adherence to the prescribed spirit of free and fair competition, both existing and new power plants should be allowed to join Meralco’s upcoming bidding for a 1,200-megawatt power supply agreement (PSA). Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi’s proposal to divide the Meralco supply requirement up for bidding into smaller sizes and to allow stacking of bids will likewise foster the desired competitive [...]

Haiyan survivors lead in climate action as Trump pulls US out of Paris agreement

MANILA, 8 November 2019 – Six years after Haiyan (Yolanda) made landfall in the Philippines, survivors of the super typhoon are standing together to survive and thrive in the face of climate change. The local governments of Coron, Palawan; the three towns of Bantayan Island, Cebu; and Guiuan, Eastern Samar have collaborated on a joint proposal worth over USD 10 million for the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF). The Climate Change Commission submitted this week to the GCF Board the first phase of the proposal, which aims to address water security issues aggravated by climate change impacts. “In stark contrast to the Trump Administration’s climate cowardice, survivors at the frontline of climate change impacts are standing on the forefront of solutions to the crisis,” said Denise Fontanilla, associate for policy advocacy of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, an international climate and energy policy group based in [...]

The Walk-Through exhibit calls for radical change in the fashion industry

25 October 2019 -- Time to see through the clothes you wear. This was the tongue-cheek challenge of artists and advocates who gathered October 24 at Ayala Malls Circuit Makati for The Walk-Through exhibit. The event confronts negative practices within the fashion industry and calls instead for greater transparency, sustainability, and ethics in the trade. The four-day activity was organized by Fashion Revolution Philippines, part of a global movement that rose out of the Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013. Over a thousand garment workers died and another 2,500 were injured in the tragedy. “We don’t know where our clothes come from. We don’t know who makes them. Because of this opacity, we are complicit in a system that’s allowing environmental degradation, exploitation, and other abuses that we would like to stop,” said Lian Sing, Fashion Revolution Philippines head of Creative Commissions. According to the event partner Institute [...]

25 Oct 2019|Tags: , |

ICSC supports Fashion Revolution Philippines’ The Walk-Through

Editor's note: ICSC is supporting sustainable fashion and the circular economy through Fashion Revolution Philippines and its exhibit The Walk-Through, which will be launched this October 24 at Ayala Malls Circuit Makati. ------------------------- THE WALK-THROUGH is Fashion Revolution Philippines’ first artist collaboration activation wherein global fashion industry issues are communicated through creative media. This project seeks to take the conversation on sustainable fashion further, exploring in unexpected ways the delicate web of the industry that we currently find ourselves embedded in. This project is supported by the British Council as part of the Creative Commissions initiative which aims to inspire positive change through artistic collaborations that challenge the social and environmental issues around sustainability and fashion. THE WALK-THROUGH is in partnership with Ayala Malls Circuit, with collaborations with WeWork, Futunst, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, MakeSense, Circulo, DENUO, and ALTUM. As a group show of multi-disciplinary Filipino artists, THE [...]

Senator Gatchalian, Rep. Garcia to promote better competition in the energy sector

CEBU CITY, September 27, 2019 – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and Cebu Third District Representative Pablo John Garcia of Cebu pledged to push for better competition in the energy sector during the second Renewable Energy Congress held here last week. Senator Gatchalian, chair of the Senate energy committee, refiled last July Senate Bill No. 362 or the Competitive Selection Process for Power Supply Agreements Act. It seeks to foster transparency and competition in power supply contracting by requiring all generation contracts to undergo open bidding. Gatchalian said the bill, which has been referred to the committee level, would “ensure transparent and reasonable prices of electricity.” Representative Garcia, deputy speaker for Visayas at the House of Representatives, expressed his support to Gatchalian and vowed to file a counterpart bill in the Lower House. “I will work with Senator Gatchalian on competition policy to increase transparency, streamline the rules, and rationally decrease electricity [...]

UN oceans report a clarion call to unite behind the science

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities REACTIVE UN oceans report a clarion call to unite behind the science QUEZON CITY, 26 September 2019 – The Climate Change Commission in partnership with Rare and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) today held a joint press briefing on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on oceans and climate change. In response to the landmark report, which was released yesterday, Denise Fontanilla, associate for policy advocacy of ICSC, said: “The IPCC oceans report serves as a clarion call for humanity to cut back its carbon emissions significantly and to limit global warming to 1.5C, if we are to survive and thrive. “According to the report, sea levels are rising more than twice as fast now compared to the 20th century, with devastating impacts for islands and other low-lying coastal communities. But a 2018 PAGASA report and other studies [...]

Renewable energy BRIGHT Project installed in northern Tacloban school

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities PRESS RELEASE Renewable energy BRIGHT Project installed in northern Tacloban school TACLOBAN CITY, 23 September 2019 – The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) formally turned over today a solar powered electricity generator to the Scandinavian Elementary School in Barangay San Roque, Tacloban City. It is the pilot project of ICSC's Brighter, Resilient and Thriving (BRIGHT) Schools program, which aims to promote solar technology and best practices in energy efficiency in public schools to reduce electricity costs. "I hope that Scandinavian Elementary School is just the first and one of the many BRIGHT School Projects in the city, paving the way for Tacloban public schools to lead the way in promoting sustainable and eco-friendly schools," said Tacloban Vice Mayor Jerry ‘Sambo’ T. Yaokasin during the ceremony. ICSC installed the Mission Energy System at the two-storey, six-classroom Pope Francis Learning Center of the [...]

Press Release: Vulnerable countries to insure MSMEs amidst worsening climate disasters

DOWNLOAD PDF Vulnerable countries to insure MSMEs amidst worsening climate disasters MSMEs account for 29% of GDP and employ 78% of workforce in vulnerable economies NEW YORK, 22 Sept 2019 – The Vulnerable Twenty (V20) group of economies today rolled out its Sustainable Insurance Facility (SIF) to protect micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that account for 29% of GDP and employ 78% of workforce in vulnerable economies. Worsening climate disasters would further drag down economic productivity and resilience if the MSME sector does not have adequate insurance protection and investment capacity to absorb financial shocks and de-risk the low-carbon transition, according the group. “Our vulnerabilities to climate change are a major strain on our economies. Those of us on the frontline of the climate crisis cannot afford to merely wait and watch the world breach the 1.5 tipping point,” said Honourable Minister, Attorney General Sayed-Khaiyum of [...]

24 Sep 2019|Tags: , , , |

UN climate summit reactive: Heed the call for urgent climate action

NEW YORK, 23 September 2019 – Reacting to the recently concluded United Nations Climate Action summit here, Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said: “We applaud UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for injecting far more urgency into climate action by putting on the spot countries with the means to act but who through their inaction are pushing the most vulnerable countries closer to irreversible ruin. Meaningful contributions have been pledged today but we need all countries to now unite in confronting the climate emergency. Will we lift the death warrant that children today face, or will we unite behind the science and thus take drastically different development pathways today? "Governments and businesses around the world should heed Greta Thunberg and our youth. It’s time to listen as well to the leaders of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, where the Philippines is a founding member. We [...]

Vulnerable Leaders Demand Further Action following UN Climate Summit: 2020 Deadline for Survival

DOWNLOAD PDF United Nations, NEW YORK – 23 Sept 2019: Leaders of the Climate Vulnerable Forum today addressed the UN Climate Action Summit to credit progress achieved following announcements today by leaders and highlighting the urgency for more widespread action by 2020. Hilda Heine, Hon. President of the Marshall Islands, which chairs the 48-member state* Climate Vulnerable Forum, said: “My country’s survival is threatened if action doesn’t materialize,” adding that “for atoll nations, there can be none of what some people are calling a ‘managed retreat’ – we simply don’t have such luxury. Our frontline is our last line-there is no fall back. We have to defend that last line. If the line falls that’s it for us.” “Participation in the Summit has been strong, but there are notable absences among large emitting and wealthy nations,” said President Heine, adding “the international community, and the public, can judge [...]

Southeast Asian scientists join forces for stronger regional climate resilience

DOWNLOAD PDF Bangkok, 4 September 2019 – Southeast Asian scientists yesterday called for stronger research collaboration in the region to face the growing threat of climate change. Speaking at the Asia Pacific Climate Week in Bangkok, they warned that higher extreme precipitation will disrupt agricultural production, which in turn may adversely affect the region’s food security. “In a 1.5-degree warming scenario, Southeast Asia will have a 7% increase in extreme precipitation events; while in a 2-degree warming world, there will be a 10% increase in extreme precipitation events. That will have a huge impact in agriculture,” said Lourdes Tibig, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a member of the Philippine Climate Change Commission’s National Panel of Technical Experts. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by 2050 crop yields will decrease by 25% if we do not address climate change now. [...]

In memoriam: ICSC statement on Gina Lopez’s passing

Former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez passed away today, 19 August. Sec. Lopez was embraced fully by communities, environmental groups, and progressive enterprises for her courage, principled life and activism. ICSC executive director Renato Redentor Constantino issued the following statement: ICSC had the extraordinary pleasure and privilege of working with Sec Gina Lopez however briefly. The brand of leadership she displayed during the Marrakech climate talks in 2016 was a classic example. She called out officials, some of whom were Filipinos, as fossil tools and fools for masquerading as developing country stalwarts while supporting the agenda of the oil, gas, and coal industries. Gina Lopez was a fierce and gentle champion of principled environmental action. The way she elevated love, truth, and intellectual integrity as weapons that can heal planetary wounds inflicted by cowardice, avarice and indifference will not be forgotten easily. The way to honor her legacy is to [...]

19 Aug 2019|

DOF Sec. Dominguez underscores need for climate-smart insurance in vulnerable economies

MANILA, 16 August 2019 – “The Philippine government is keen on strengthening its policies on climate financing,” Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez stated in his remarks for today’s forum on climate-smart micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) insurance in vulnerable and emerging economies. “The challenges posed by climate change demand all hands be on deck,” Dominguez said in his statement, which was read in the forum by DOF Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez. “Green financing will allow us to mobilize investments, from the wider use of renewable energy to improving the resilience of our communities.” The forum was organized by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative in partnership with the DOF; global insurance broker Willis Towers Watson; and the Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers (V20), which represents around one billion people from 48 countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, including [...]

16 Aug 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

How to invest in ‘green’ financing?

(Published by ANC, 1 Aug 2019) Philippine companies raised around P1.5 billion from so-called "green bonds" since last year. Marlon Apanada, managing director of Allotrope Partners gives tips on how to invest in green financing.

Renewable energy tack in SONA lauded

by Rhodina Villanueva (published by The Philippine Star,  July 25, 2019)  READ THE FULL STORY HERE MANILA, Philippines — Environmentalists lauded President Duterte for emphasizing the need “to fast-track renewable energy (RE) resources to reduce the country’s dependence on traditional energy sources such as coal” in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday. Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said, “The President’s call to fast-track renewable energy projects to reduce dependence on coal is the signal policymakers need to hear. No less than the country’s chief executive is echoing what financial institutions now robustly recognize, that the Philippines is needlessly dependent on economically harmful, unreliable and heavily subsidized polluting coal and imported fossil fuels.” “The country already has $21 billion worth of stranding coal plant assets in the pipeline, and we already pay more than $200 million per year in [...]

26 Jul 2019|Tags: , , , |

Duterte’s SONA call for renewable energy confirms PH energy transition underway

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities REACTIVE: Duterte’s SONA call for renewable energy confirms PH energy transition underway MANILA, 22 July 2019 — Reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements in his fourth State of the Nation Address today calling for “to fast-track renewable energy resources to reduce the country’s dependence on traditional energy sources such as coal”, Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said: “The President’s call to fast-track renewable energy projects to reduce dependence on coal is the signal policymakers need to hear. No less than the country’s chief executive is echoing what government and financial institutions now robustly recognize, that the Philippines is needlessly dependent on economically harmful, unreliable and heavily subsidized polluting coal and imported fossil fuels. “The country already has $21 billion worth of stranding coal plant assets in the pipeline, and we already pay more than $200 [...]

Reactive: Japan fails to drive stronger G20 climate pact

Reacting to the G20 Summit’s conclusion in Osaka, Renato Redentor Constantino, Executive Director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities said: “As G20 Chair, Japan’s failure to drive a stronger outcome in support of climate action exposed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s weak leadership in the global stage. Japan wasted its chance to decisively confront the climate emergency and leave behind a legacy of modernity. Instead, it meekly exits the stage bowed low to usher in Saudi Arabia’s climate of impunity. “This weak legacy will inevitably taint Japan’s image on the road to hosting the 2020 Olympics where its leadership and environmental credentials will again be in the global spotlight. We are hopeful that Japan’s financial industry and some of its progressive government leaders will force a significant shift in Japan’s policies towards strong climate action. “Far more worrying than Japan’s tainted image is that it will now be handing [...]

29 Jun 2019|Tags: , , , |

Japan seeks climate leadership at G-20 summit but can’t kick its coal habit

By Simon Denyer (Published June 27 in The Washington Post) TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to burnish his green credentials. Japan, he said, will exercise “firm leadership” on climate change at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka this week, with a focus on “disruptive innovation” that generates economic growth. It also was a theme echoed by G-20 energy and environment ministers in their pre-summit meeting in the Japanese town of Karuizawa. But Abe’s ambitions conceal a dirty secret. Japan is hooked on coal, and it can’t kick the habit, environmentalists say. It is even helping to keep its Asian neighbors burning coal, too. Since 2012, Japan has embarked on a major spending spree to modernize its coal industry, which it boasts as one of the cleanest in the world. Japan has 12 new plants already up and running, 15 being built and 10 in the planning [...]

28 Jun 2019|Tags: , , , , , , |

PHL shift to clean energy will spur economic growth, development – report

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities REACTIVE: PHL shift to clean energy will spur economic growth, development –report MANILA, 21 June 2019- The Philippines along with other countries in South and Southeast Asia can transition to renewable energy to fuel economic growth, boost sustainable development and achieve energy security while avoiding life-threatening pollution and environmental degradation, according to a new report. The country’s “increasing reliance on fossil fuel imports comes at a significant cost – 3.5% of the country’s GDP or 11 billion USD in 2017 were spent on fuel imports,” according to the international research group Climate Analytics, which published the report yesterday during the United Nations climate talks in Germany. “The Philippines could benefit from reducing external costs from air pollution with annual average [outdoor] air pollution cost savings in 2025 amounting to about 1.1 billion USD,” it added. The report also cited studies stating that covering even [...]

Kairos Dela Cruz on ANC: Sea level rise and climate action

Kairos Dela Cruz, ICSC's associate for climate policy, talks to Migs Bustos of Early Edition on ANC about sea level rise projections worldwide and in the Philippines, and how the country can ramp up its efforts to respond to this and other climate change impacts.

10 Jun 2019|Tags: , , , |

“Radical action” on climate needed both in UN talks, PH – civil society groups

Aksyon Klima Pilipinas REACTIVE “Radical action” on climate needed both in UN talks, PH - civil society groups MANILA, 6 June 2019 — Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, a network of civil society groups working for a robust climate policy for the country, is taking up the challenge of President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. to the international community to take “radical action” on climate change while urging Malacañang to walk the talk. Following President Duterte’s statements last Friday in Tokyo lambasting the lack of progress in the United Nations climate negotiations, Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. yesterday announced he was “rejecting all official participation in climate change conferences requiring air travel.” Francis dela Cruz, convener of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, said: “We echo the frustration expressed by President Duterte and Secretary Locsin on the lack of progress in the UN climate talks given that the Philippines is [...]

06 Jun 2019|Tags: , , , , , |

Young metro mayors challenged to make World Bike to Work Day everyday

DOWNLOAD PDF PASIG, 3 June 2019 -- An international think tank issued today a challenge to Metro Manila's newly elected young mayors, calling for working class-biased solutions to climate change in celebration of World Bicycle Day. "We call on Metro Manila's new leaders to come together and make everyday World Bicycle Day. It's time they work as one to focus on non-motorized transport options and promote cities friendly to those who pedal to work," said Golda Hilario, associate for program development of the Manila-based Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities or ICSC. The group called out Mayors Vico Sotto, Joy Belmonte, Abby Binay, Francis Zamora, and Isko Moreno to pin down a plan of cooperation that would link Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Manila and San Juan through protected bicycle lanes. “We challenge our incoming mayors in Metro Manila to build better communities and improve productivity by making cycling a [...]

03 Jun 2019|Tags: , , , , , |

STATEMENT: SC decision portends lower rates for electricity ratepayers

10 May 2019 -- The cloud of uncertainty that hovered over stakeholders in the power sector was lifted by the Supreme Court (SC) decision on the competitive procurement of power supply by distribution utilities, mainly for residential ratepayers, last May 3. The aims and expected results of that decision are to be lauded. If the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) hew to the spirit of the court’s decision well, ratepayers can expect lower rates than will otherwise be, and would have been, the case. But there are implementation challenges that have to be addressed. Prior to the regulations enacted by the DOE and supposed to have taken effect in June 2015, the distribution utilities (DUs) could procure power supply for ratepayers even from affiliated entities, as long as the power supply agreement (PSA) passed muster before the ERC. The DOE regulations tried to make the [...]

Cash, political will: Coessential tools vs catastrophic impact of climate change

Reposted from BusinessMirror By Cai Ordinario - May 9, 2019 NADI, Fiji—The greenback may lead to greening the earth, so some believe. However, for experts at a conference here last week, money is just one of the weapons in this perennial contradiction of man against nature as the latter appears to have the upper hand. At the 52nd Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Governors’ Meeting on this Pacific island, a panel of experts organized by the ADB Independent Evaluation Department (IED) raised the urgency in addressing climate change. The experts said Asia and the Pacific has a high exposure to climate change. They said that from the start of the millennium up to last year, around 84 percent of the 206 million people on average affected by weather and other disasters globally each year were from the region. These and other disasters equaled 7 percent of GDP from 2000 to [...]

ICSC on ANC: The economic benefits of transitioning from coal to renewable energy

(Posted on Early Edition on ANC, April 16, 2019) ICSC senior policy advisor Atty. Pete Maniego tells Michelle Ong about the economic benefits of transitioning from coal to renewable energy and from centralized to distributed generation systems in today's Early Edition on ANC.

Vulnerable countries and international partners announce collaboration to climate­-proof economic growth

Washington DC, 11 April 2019 — ­­ Finance Ministers from V20 Group of vulnerable economies today announced new financial instruments in collaboration with international partners at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund to ensure continued global economic growth in the face of increasing threats from climate change. The group aims to lower the cost of capital and unlock large capital inflows to climate-­proof the economic development of at least 1 billion people living in some of the fastest­-growing regions, but are exposed to severe climate impacts. “Shortfalls in decisive action persist despite the blueprint provided by the Paris Agreement. We must go far beyond rhetoric. The moment calls for a robust response to protect economic growth from the risks of climate change and secure continued progress,” said Minister Benson Wase, Finance Minister of the Republic of Marshall Islands and current chair of the V20. [...]

12 Apr 2019|Tags: , |

ERC promotes cheaper, more reliable energy through new draft rules: think tank

PRESS RELEASE MANILA, 3 April 2019 – An international policy group commended the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) today for promoting fair competition in pursuit of cheaper, more reliable power in the draft rules it recently issued covering power supply agreements (PSAs). “The ERC is right to protect the public from fluctuating fuel prices in its latest draft rules for power procurement. Ordinary consumers and the whole economy would enjoy cheaper and reliable power if the Commission follows through in promoting genuine competition in the energy sector,” said Red Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC). Captive consumers – or electricity consumers who cannot yet contract their own power suppliers – are exposed to price risks due to automatic fuel adjustment clauses in current PSAs. Constantino said the ERC has taken “a big step in the right direction. The draft PSA rules seek to pass on [...]

04 Apr 2019|Tags: , , , |

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: , , , , , |

COP23: Philippine, Ethiopian leaders preview Islamic-based V20 insurance facility

BONN, Germany, 13 November 2017 – Climate-vulnerable economies comprising the Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers (V20) previewed an Islamic finance-related insurance facility this afternoon (midnight Manila time) on the sidelines of the United Nations climate conference here, proving that investing in climate action is necessary and critical for inclusive development and economic growth. Philippine senator and head of delegation Loren Legarda, Ethiopian state minister Kare Chawicha Dabessa for V20, and Climate Smart Network (CSN) climate finance advisor Sara Jane Ahmed led the presentation of the Sustainable Insurance and Takaful Facility (SITF) in the event organized by ICSC, the Philippine government delegation, and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies. Also part of the panel were Dr. Saleem Huq and Dr. Ainun Nishat, who shared innovative climate finance solutions they are working on in Bangladesh. “The SITF integrates the fundamental principles of Islamic finance to close the insurance protection and [...]

15 Nov 2017|

$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 [...]

A brighter and greener future after Yolanda

  by Lottie Salarda Originally published in The use of solar power and other renewable energy sources, like solar or wind, is not common to the people of Eastern Visayas, until typhoon Yolanda hit the region November 2013. Several international organizations donated solar lamps to families living in tent cities and shanties. The contributions came at the right time—during the spate of power outages in many towns in Leyte province including Tacloban City. Word spread and the people became more curious about power harnessed from sunlight. Using solar power to light homes made a difference in the lives of many Yolanda survivors fortunate enough to have access to the technology. Most have kept and used the solar lamps even after the total restoration of electricity in typhoon-devastated areas. Yet is it possible to do more than just distribute lamps, many of which do not appear to have been [...]

12 Sep 2015|Tags: , , , , , , |

Mother’s kindness inspires heroism

Gigie Cruz, text and photos, with a report by Red Constantino Originally published in ABS-CBN A mural of heroes featuring Corporal Anjantte Obligado, Lottie Salarda, Joaquin Corrigidor, at the Re-Charge Tacloban project site, a solar energy and sustainable services training facility in the City of Tacloban, Leyte. Photo courtesy of iCSC The air was thick with the sense of anxiety as Corporal Annjannette Donato Obligado, while on duty at the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Headquarters, and her husband PO2 Oliver Obligado, who was also based in Manila with the Philippine National Police, monitored news on Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013. She had family in Eastern Samar while the kin of her husband lived in Tacloban City. Obligado, with her own daughter Mary Olive, in their residence in Camp Aguinaldo. Photo by Gigie Cruz After learning about the severity of Yolanda’s [...]

31 Aug 2015|Tags: , , , , , , |