Click on the titles below to view and download the PDF files.

Advancing Ambition Through Socially Beneficial Climate Action: Recommendations for the Talanoa Dialogue and Paris Rulebook

Climate change is often described as a global collective action problem, in which the costs are borne by countries that act, while the benefits are shared by all. Although this understanding has long framed global climate policy debates, it is increasingly wrong. Climate solutions are now often cheaper and provide greater economic and social returns than higher-carbon alternatives. As a result, many (but certainly not all) of the actions needed to contain climate pollution are “socially beneficial”: they will increase the overall welfare and advance the equitable development goals of the countries that take them, even before climate impacts are considered.

Although these socially beneficial mitigation opportunities are widely available in all countries, the Paris regime has not explicitly encouraged countries to seize them. Prioritizing these opportunities in the Talanoa Dialogue and the rulebook could increase overall ambition by alleviating the global free rider problem, expanding countries’ understanding of what they can achieve, and helping countries avoid the difficult trade-offs associated with higher cost actions. In addition to promoting ambition, this approach is also consistent with the Paris Agreement’s other core principles of equity and national interest.

Countries could strengthen their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) as they increase social welfare by capturing more of their socially beneficial opportunities. The Talanoa Dialogue should help countries do this by highlighting the scale and range of these actions, and encouraging countries to consider them as a leading source of new measures to enhance their existing NDCs. Likewise, the Paris rulebook should encourage countries to share how they are capturing these opportunities and should ensure that their scope and scale is considered in the global stocktakes.


Renato Redentor Constantino is a member of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Experts Advisory Group and heads the Manila-based international policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), which published the pioneering literary anthology on climate change, Agam: Filipino Narratives on Uncertainty and Climate Change (2014). He is the author of The Poverty of Memory: Essays on History and Empire (2006) and contributed to the Paloma Press anthology Humanity (2018).

Selamawit Desta Wubet is a legal expert with the Ethiopian Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change. She has been a member of the Ethiopian delegation to the UNFCCC negotiations and other climate talks since 2014. She is the lead negotiator on mitigation for the Least Developed Country group, and the Ethiopian focal point for the Climate Vulnerable Forum. She holds a bachelor of Law (LLB) from the Addis Ababa University School of Law.

Steven Herz is a Senior Attorney with the International Climate Program of the Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. His advocacy focuses on international climate policy, environmental and human rights law, sustainable development, and energy policy. Steve is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, reports, and submissions on these issues. He holds degrees in government (B.A.), law (J.D.) and history (M.A.) from the University of Virginia.

Towards a just transition in the Philippine electricity sector: Challenges and opportunities

The Philippine energy sector is at a crucial juncture and facing a predicament. The country’s economy continues to grow rapidly but the country’s economy predominantly is coal-powered. At the same time, the Philippines has led the push to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius and submitted ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), with a conditional greenhouse gas reduction target of 70 per cent below business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2030.

This paper sets roadmaps specifying and describing the initiatives required to accelerate the just transition to a low-carbon economy, a fundamental transformation of the country’s energy sector. It’s part of a series of country studies in Asia prepared under a regional project on energy transition in Asia.

© 2017 Pedro Maniego, Jr. Jose Logarta, Jr., Roberto Verzola and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Slow Onset Events: Local Studies of Climate Change Impacts in the Philippines

This report shows how findings from local science-based studies can further show the magnitude of the consequences of slow onset events and the need to implement greater and innovative adaptation measures to reduce these impacts. It also seeks to complement international e orts by striving to build up a local knowledge and research database on slow onsets by tapping three state universities in the three major Philippine island groups.

Carving Out Coal in the Philippines: Stranded Coal Plant Assets and the Energy Transition (BRIEFER)

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).

The report recommends the Energy Regulatory Commission require carve-out clauses in all fossil fuel projects to protect consumers. A carve-out clause, which reduces the amount of power the utility must buy from the power generator, can exempt the distribution utilities from the consequences of reducing contracted capacity from coal plants.

The report also states investments in renewable energy and liquefied natural gas are more cost-effective and less risky for investors and consumers alike.

Carving Out Coal in the Philippines: Stranded Coal Plant Assets and the Energy Transition (FULL REPORT)

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).

The report recommends the Energy Regulatory Commission require carve-out clauses in all fossil fuel projects to protect consumers. A carve-out clause, which reduces the amount of power the utility must buy from the power generator, can exempt the distribution utilities from the consequences of reducing contracted capacity from coal plants.

The report also states investments in renewable energy and liquefied natural gas are more cost-effective and less risky for investors and consumers alike.

Energy in Humanitarian Response: A Case Study on Humanitarian Actors’ Perceptions of Energy During Typhoon Haiyan

Report by ICSC supported by Christian Aid, launched July 5, 2017

Energy plays an important role in humanitarian response. In disaster-hit areas, energy becomes a rare commodity, along with water, food and shelter. The unavailability of this service hinders the development and resilience- building efforts of entire communities in post-disaster situations. However, the value of energy is often overlooked in the humanitarian response system.

To understand how energy needs were met during typhoon Haiyan, this case study solicited information regarding different energy needs and energy-related strategies employed by several international humanitarian organizations through surveys. Using follow-up semi-structured interviews, perceptions on energy in humanitarian response and renewable energy were also gathered.

Results show the high-energy requirements of humanitarian organizations to run field operations and implement humanitarian actions in disaster-affected communities. These organizations have been unable to implement an efficient energy-enabled strategy in their Haiyan response. Upon further analysis of relevant articles and materials, the study finds that this lapse in disaster response initiatives can be attributed to limited information on and systemized structure of energy that is often anchored in the global humanitarian scheme.

Data from the study show that effective energy strategies are not incorporated into humanitarian response and that renewable energy systems are seldom used by humanitarian actors.

Based on the findings of the case study, we recommend stakeholders to:

  • Create a well-resourced working group or identify a specific cluster within the humanitarian cluster system which will ensure that the energy needs of humanitarian actors and disaster-affected communities are adequately and efficiently addressed, and with which the private sector energy providers can closely coordinate and collaborate;
  • Develop a clear operational framework that guides humanitarian actors to integrate energy needs in disaster pre- paredness and response plans, and that is consistent with the UNHCR Handbook for Emergencies and the Global Strategy for Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE);
  • Develop guidelines, protocols and useful tools that will enable humanitarian actors to integrate energy needs assessments and promote good practices of integrating energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in re- sponse interventions; and
  • Explore collaborative arrangements that will ensure that the energy needs of responding humanitarian actors are prioritized and met during the onset of emergency response. For instance, emergency responders can facilitate agreements with logistics and transport sectors to fly in solar-powered generators and batteries.

Global Carbon Pricing: The Path to Climate Cooperation

“Global Carbon Pricing: The Path to Climate Cooperation”, published by the MIT Press in June 2017, is the state-of-the-art on the design of carbon taxation as a policy tool for compliance with the Paris Agreement. In the book, the authors, including two with Nobels in economics, urge for a policy change that makes compliance consistent with each country’s interest. We urge all serious scholars and climate activists to read it.

The free edition was made possible by support of the German Research Foundation through the University of Cologne Research Unit “Design & Behavior”. For more information about the book, visit the website of the Global Carbon Pricing Project.

Editors: Peter Cramton, David JC MacKay, Axel Ockenfels, and Steven Stoft
Contributors: Richard N. Cooper, Peter Cramton, Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Gollier, Éloi Laurent, David JC MacKay, William Nordhaus, Axel Ockenfels, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Steven Stoft, Jean Tirole, and Martin L. Weitzman

Electricity-Sector Opportunity in the Philippines: The Case for Wind- and Solar-Powered Small Island Grids

This paper describes how small islands in the Philippines can modernize outdated power- generation systems that currently rely on imported diesel fuel and how solar- and wind- powered grids on these islands can supply affordable, reliable, more efficient, more secure, and cleaner power. Many Philippine small island grids served today by diesel generators suffer from frequent blackouts and unplanned power outages. The problem is far from intractable, however. Our research suggests that a reasonably swift transition to renewable energy is feasible across these islands and that it can be driven largely by market forces that support modernization and savings through advances in renewable energy and storage. The core policy question posed here is how the national government can speed this transition through the adoption of appropriate forward-looking policy and oversight.

May 2017

EPDP study additional comments by Michael Vemuri, GIZ, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Menke (July 2017)

“Filipino 2040 – Energy: Power Security and Competitiveness EPDP Working Paper 2016 – 01R”

Comments (November 2016) and further reactions (July 2017) by Michael Vemuri, GIZ, Chief Advisor Renewable Energy
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Menke, Trier University of Applied Sciences

Response by authors of EPDP study (March 2017)

ICSC & IEEFA comments on the EPDP Paper

Getting Prices Right: Philippine energy policy should be guided by the country’s climate vulnerability

Preliminary review of FILIPINO 2040 Energy: Power Security and Competitiveness

Comments by:

Viking Logarta, Energy Policy Advisor, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities
Atty. Pete Maniego Jr., Senior Policy Advisor, 
 Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities
Sara Jane Ahmed, Energy Finance Consultant, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

“We agree with the authors that any arbitrary fuel-mix target is the wrong way to go. But getting prices right will take some time. We encourage the authors to look at more scenarios incorporating economic and technological trends, as well as the experience of other countries, to better ascertain optimal power outcomes.”

GIZ comments on EPDP Paper

“Filipino 2040 – Energy: Power Security and Competitiveness EPDP Working Paper 2016 – 01R”

Comments by
Michael Vemuri, GIZ, Chief Advisor Renewable Energy

With inputs from
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Menke, Trier University of Applied Sciences Kilian Reiche, iiDevelopment

B-LEADERS comments on the EPDP Paper

The USAID Philippines project Building Low Emission Alternatives to Development Economic Resilience and Sustainability (B-LEADERS) reviewed and remarked on the “Energy: Power Security and Competitiveness” working paper of the UPecon Foundation’s Energy Policy and Development Program, which is also supported by USAID.

“The EPDP study cited that the goal of Filipino 2040 is to improve the well-being of the Filipinos and identified electricity price as one indicator…. Even if electricity cost makes up the bulk of the 8% share in cost, it is quite clear that electricity price as an indicator may not lead to a solid conclusion with respect to a Filipino’s well-being,” B-LEADERS remarked in their executive summary.

Designing a Competitive Electricity Market (Abrenica, 2014)

“Years after the Electricity Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) marked the departure from a centrally-managed highly regulated structure to a decentralized market-oriented system, the expected reduction in electricity prices and the investments boost in the sector have not taken place. This note tries to unravel the reform enigma by focusing on the design, specifically the introduction of competition at the wholesale level while limiting the analysis to trading protocols observed in the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM). Could electricity prices have been lower under a different market design from the one currently applied in WESM? Bidding behavior of market participants are largely influenced by auction design so that the observed behavior in one regime cannot be used to predict the outcomes in another. Thus no one auction design is superior and appropriate to all markets.”

This 2014 policy note by Dr. Joy Abrenica, Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, was heavily cited by Dr. Maria Socorro Gochoco-Bautista in her review of the EPDP paper, as delivered in the RTD. According to Dr. Bautista, the policy note should have been cited in the references of the EPDP paper. “In general, the [EPDP] paper should have a proper review of the literature on the price of electricity in the Philippines,” Bautista further remarked.

Dr. Gochoco-Bautista, UPSE on the EPDP Paper

Dr. Maria Socorro Gochoco-Bautista, professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, presented her comments on the EPDP energy working paper at the RTD.

According to Dr. Gochoco-Bautista, “In the numerical exercises [of EPDP], output growth is exogenous so it is unclear how generation costs and electricity prices affect output growth.” She also showed a simple model of the energy sector which is displayed in the last page of the document.

She added that the “policy recommendations section [has] recommendations that economists can legitimately make but which are not naturally derived from the numerical exercises and the narrow goals of the paper.”

In addition, she notes towards the end that “in general, the paper should have a proper review of the literature on the price of electricity in the Philippines”, and “would also suggest that certain statements not germane to the paper and which have political undertones be deleted.”

Filipino 2040 Energy: Power Security and Competitiveness

The Filipinos’ vision for themselves by 2040 is for them to enjoy a stable and comfortable lifestyle, having enough for their daily needs and unforeseen expenses, so they can plan and prepare for their own and their children’s futures. This paper looks at one major commodity that bears heavily on every Filipino consumer’s expenses: electricity. By focusing on the generation sector, it presents two possible scenarios for the next 25 years and illustrates how policy reforms on fuel mix can potentially reduce blended generation charges that make up 47% of the total electric bill of households. This paper also provides an assessment of the power sector’s performance and suggests broad key reforms and alternative pathways needed for the sector to contribute to the overall vision of a strong-growth economy and improved well-being of Filipinos by 2040.

Majah-Leah V. Ravago, Raul V. Fabella, Ruperto P. Alonzo,
Rolando A. Danao, Dennis S. Mapa

University of the Philippines and
Energy Policy and Development Program (EPDP)

PSF Handbook

This handbook gives a good comprehensive briefing on the R.A. 10174 or the People’s Survival Fund. The handbook’s annexes also provide the necessary templates in accessing the Fund.

The Sky’s Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production

In December 2015, world governments agreed to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2°C, and to strive to limit it to 1.5°C. This report examines, for the first time, the implications of these climate boundaries for energy production and use. Our key findings are:

The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.
The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.
With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

One of the most powerful climate policy levers is also the simplest: stop digging for more fossil fuels. We therefore recommend:

No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.
Some fields and mines – primarily in rich countries – should be closed before fully exploiting their resources, and financial support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer countries.
This does not mean stopping using all fossil fuels overnight. Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.

In August 2015, just months before the Paris climate talks, President Anote Tong of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati called for an end to construction of new coal mines and coal mine expansions. This report expands his call to all fossil fuels.

Climate Change and Labour: Impacts of Heat in the Workplace

Excessive heat while working, generally at temperatures above 35o Celsius, creates occupational health risks and reduces work capacity and labor productivity (Parsons, 2014). Maintaining a core body temperature close to 37oC is essential for health and human performance, and large amounts of sweating as a result of high heat exposure while working create a risk of dehydration. Excessive body temperature and/or dehydration causes “heat exhaustion”, slower work, more mistakes while working, clinical heat effects (heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death; Bouchama and Knochel, 2002) and increased risk of accidental injuries (Schulte and Chun, 2009). These health effects lessen labor productivity, whether the worker is in paid work in a range of industries, in traditional subsistence agriculture or farming, or in other daily life activities. Daily family activities, such as caring for children or the elderly, are equally affected.

Accessing the People’s Survival Fund

The policy briefer entitled “Accessing the People’s Survival Fund: Finding the Right Balance between Access Modalities and Institutional Arrangements for the PSF is ICSC’s contribution to the policy discussions that the PSF Board will have once convened. This briefer proposes the modality of “enhanced access,” a localized version of direct access, in operationalizing the PSF. Enhanced access is a perfect fit for the PSF because it is a modality that requires expediency of access, efficient delivery, and high fiduciary standards.

Project Philippines: Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative

Project Philippines is the project narrative for The Adaptation Finance Initiative (AFAI), an international initiative that seeks to track international funds tagged as adaptation finance. AFAI in the Philippines was made possible through the partnership of iCSC with Overseas Development Institute (ODI), World Resources Institute (WRI), and Oxfam. AFAI is also being undertaken with other country partners in Zambia, Uganda, and Nepal.

Slow Onset Climate Change Impacts: What it is, why should we care, and what we can do about it

This paper contains scientific and anecdotal evidence, and expert and grassroots recommendations brought about by the questions: What are we doing about Slow Onset Impacts (SOI) or the long-term effects of climate change? Why should we do more? And what steps should be taken to meet this challenge?

Climate Change, Geography, and Human Development

An excerpt from the text: "This is a compelling argument against centralized, cookie-cutter type of approaches from the national government-particularly in agriculture, the most climate-sensitive sector. Rather, the first best and, maybe, only response to narity and unpredictability is to strengthen adaptive capacities of communities-strengthening human capabilities and building on local coping mechanisms. Certain types of information, technology, and research may be best produced or financed at the national level, but the delivery and application of these public goods requires local knowledge, flexibility, and customization. Certainly, planning capacity will be critical, if not essential, to the adaptive potential of localities. in order to avoid fragmented local responses to climate change and clumsy, ineffective, one-size-fits-all national programs, interventions at the provincial level will be central to building climate change resilience at the local level".

2012/2013 Philippine Human Development Report

Following the discipline of its global and regional counterparts, national HDRs provide the same rigor of analysis, which we now find in the Philippine Human Development Report (PHDR). As in previous editions, this 7th Philippine Human Development Report (2012-2013 PHDR) offers yet another development perspective, “Geography,” critical to the attainment of human development for the people of Philippine archipelago. The road to human development is filled with multidimensional barriers and challenges. To understand the path to human development, since 1994 the PHDRs have tackled diverse themes such as gender, education, employment, peace and security, and institutions. The past PHDRs have earned their reputation as important references to development leaders and practitioners of the country with their in-depth analysis and concrete suggestions.

Global Climate Risk Index 2013: Who suffers most from Extreme Weather Events? Weather Related Loss events in 2011 and 1992 to 2011

Authored by Sven Harmeling and David Eckstein

The Global Climate Change Risk Index 2013 is a tool that can be used to analyze the extent by which countries have been affected by climate-related phenomena like storms, floods, heat waves and the like. The basis for this Global Climate Change Risk Index is the available data obtained in 2011, and for the period of 1992-2001. This index can serve as an indicator that the Philippines, as a country greatly affected by climate change, may experience greater vulnerability to the destructive effects of climate change. The paper provides a part where readers could understand how the Global Climate Risk Index can be read in order to derive their preferred data and data sets.

A Measure for Resilience: 2012 Report on the Ecological Footprint of the Philippines

“A Measure for Resilience: 2012 Report on the Ecological Footprint of the Philippines” shows the methodology developed by the Global Footprint Network to address and mainstream issues relating to sustainable environment and biodiversity within the policies related to climate change in the Philippines. The creation of a roadmap which shall be the basis for the national response to climate change is the grand agenda of the Philippines in confronting the impacts of climate change. With this goal in mind, the Climate Change Commission, through the National Strategic Framework on Climate Change pushes for a resilient Philippines through the formulation of the National Climate Change Action plan, the top priorities of which are the following: food security, water sufficiency, ecosystem and environmental stability, human security, climate-smart industries and services, sustainable energy and Knowledge and Capacity Development. This report will provide readers with an overview of the Ecological Footprint of the Philippines in relation to different land types (croplands, forest land, grazing land, fishing grounds), its carbon footprint, a matrix of land use consumption and its analysis and the future scenarios that the country might face in the future if the current ecological footprint is not acted upon.

Braving the Uncertainties of Weather

A study on weather index-based insurance as agriculture risk transfer mechanism for climate change adaptation and risk reduction in the Philippines.

Climate Change Commission, ICSC, and Oxfam. 2012

Research Report: Are Metro Manila Households Willing to Pay for Cleaner Public Transport?

Authored by Jamil Paolo S. Francisco, Department of Economics, Ateneo de Manila University

This study by the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia or EEPSEA looks at the willingness of residents of Metro Manila to pay for a program that would replace the city’s current fleet of highly-polluting diesel jeepneys with zero-emission electric vehicles. Hard copies of the report are also available at the ICSC office.

Correction: Page 2 of the report erroneously states that the ejeepneys were launched in Makati City as a joint program of Greenpeace and Makati City government. The proponent and implementor of the ejeepney initiative is ICSC (formerly Green Renewable Independent Power Producer or GRIPP) with Makati City as the pilot partner city. Greenpeace provided volunteers and assisted in the event’s organization during the launch in Makati up to the project’s inception stage.

Blending Climate Finance Through National Climate Funds: A Guidebook for the Design and Establishments of National Funds to Achieve Climate Change Priorities

Authored by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Climate Change Policy Spet Cassie Flyn.

Before, the management of climate finance was in the hand of the small number of large funds associated with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Finance. Today, countries have more opportunities to address the various climate and development needs because of the expansion of funds coming from private, public, bilateral and multilateral sources. As a consequence of the expansion of climate sources, countries should have a tool that they could use to maximize the funds that they are receiving. The UNDP is pushing that each country should have a National Climate Fund which shall serve as a mechanism for the facilitation, collection, blending, coordination of, and accounting of climate finance. The purpose of this guidebook is to provide countries with assistance in designing their respective NCF by identifying its common components and structural overview. This guidebook is intended to decision-makers at the national and sub-national level, domestic experts involved in assisting the government in establishing institutions and those frameworks to support proper management and delivery of climate finance.

Localizing the Measurement of the Impact of Climate Change

Authored by Romula A. Virola together with Edward Lopez-Dee, Mark Rex Romaoag and Leo Allan Halcon of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB)

The destruction brought about by typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009, typhoon Basyang in July 2011, and the El Nino phenomena present the need for strategic planning in local, national, and international levels to address vulnerabilities of sectors climate change impacts. In line with this, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) commenced initiatives like Philippine Economic-Environmental and Natural Resources Accounting (PEENRA) project, the creation of an Interagency Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Statistics (IAC-ENRS) and the creation of other statistical frameworks to achieve such goal. This paper tackles the NSCB statistical framework and localizes it to the National Capital Region, the Ilocos Region and Albay Province which are the areas vastly affected by climate change as determined by statistical evidence. This paper also assesses the available statistics and information system dealing with the impacts of climate change in these provinces and regions. Disaster management and preparedness, environmental sustainability and other successful models of adaptation and mitigation strategies used primarily in Albay are presented alongside impacts and vulnerability statistics.

Financing Adaptation or Funding Chaos? Adaptation, Finance, and Philippine Climate Policy

Financing Adaptation or Funding Chaos?
Adaptation, Finance, and Philippine Climate Policy

As the world reels from the devastating impacts of climate change, financing sources for climate resilient development are proliferating at a rate and scale that, from initial appearance, may all but surpass traditional flows of official development assistance (ODA). Unfortunately, the scale of resources pledged so far are far from the scale of financing required to meet the needs of developing countries like the Philippines. Worse, most of the pledges remain just that — pledges virtually written on water, many recycled from previously announced commitments.

Among developing countries, mitigation efforts alone are estimated to cost US$140 to US$175 billion a year over the next 20 years, with associated financing needs of around US$265 to US$565 billion. Adaptation investments are projected to average US$30 to US$100 billion a year over the period 2010-2050. Distressingly, only US$2 billion of the total US$19 billion pledged funds thus far have been deposited into dedicated climate funds, while only US$700 million have been disbursed.

The failure of Copenhagen to deliver a fair, ambitious and binding deal on urgent mitigation and financing issues, and the threat of another dismal outcome, if not outright collapse, of international climate talks leaves vulnerable developing countries like the Philippines with little choice but to take urgent domestic action. The Philippines must make adaptation to climate change the national imperative. It must ensure that domestic policy measures are consistent with such a position.

Currently, governance chaos reigns over the administration of climate finance that has entered the Philippines, along with funds projected or programmed to come from abroad. As the table below shows, this has skewed domestic climate action towards the wrong priorities. More international climate finance has gone to mitigation efforts instead of adaptation activities. Worse, it appears most of the resources allocated for adaptation programs and projects have come in the form of loans. This is contrary to the position championed by the Philippines abroad, which calls for climate finance to be channeled neither as aid nor charity but as compensatory funding in context and by design.

Action based on immediate, near-term and long-term strategies is critical. Measures must address challenges related to selecting regions and communities in the country, that require urgent adaptation support based on mechanisms that ensure effective fund delivery, and fiduciary and transparency requirements that build public trust and ensure participation by civil society organizations and congressional oversight.

Policies and Legislations

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Policy Brief: The proper approach to coal and natural gas taxation in the Philippines

by Viking Logarta, Dr. Marian Delos Angeles, and Jeffrey Koon

This policy brief was published on August 30, 2017, in support of the efforts of the Department of Finance (DOF) in reforming the tax system toward a fairer and more sustainable one, especially in regard to fossil fuels. The DOF intends to propose a coal tax to the legislature before the end of the year (Package 5).

The DOF surely must be aware that any tax structure has long-term implications on investment decisions and on consumer welfare. It has the power to send the correct market signals to make sure the power infrastructure now and in the future, maximizes social welfare. Under the current regulatory framework of the power sector, stranded costs seem inevitable and what is debatable is the allocation of the burden. The DOF has to make a bet based on the best available evidence. ICSC is ready to support that endeavor.

Position Paper on Tax Reform Bills: Raise revenues, change behavior for inclusive development

This position paper on the petroleum excise tax was read by ICSC environmental economics advisor Dr. Marian Delos Angeles during the 13th Public Hearing of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Bills held on August 10, 2017.

“In sum, ICSC commends the DOF and the authors of the Senate bill for taking this visionary initiative. There are historical precedents for this, such as the differential tax on gasoline with different lead content. The Clean Air Act also provided for market-based instruments to curb pollution but these still have not been implemented. We urge the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, DOE, and DOF to please review these provisions. Still, ICSC says that the extant Senate bill needs to be enacted quickly. ICSC would also like to offer our insights and services to the committee on bills on carbon taxation in the future.”

PSF Board Meeting Minutes and Related Documents