SENATOR Loren Legarda expressed alarm on Saturday over the adverse environmental impacts of coal-fired power plants in the country, thus she urged the government to tap cleaner and less wasteful sources of energy.
"Our goal to reduce carbon emissions will be impossible if we will continue to allow the construction and operation of additional coal-fired power plants, the nation's top source of greenhouse gas emissions and the primary cause of global warming," Legarda, chair of Senate climate change committee, said in a statement.
Legarda noted that in the past five years, the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources granted at least 21 coal-fired power plants an Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs), certifying that the projects will cause significant environmental impact.
While she lauded the Aquino administration for reviewing the country's energy policy, Legarda decried the proliferation of new coal power plants.
"The Philippines is contradicting itself when it says it wants a strong agreement in climate change yet is allowing the proliferation of new coal power plants. Effectively, by such proliferation we are contributing to our own destruction and we lose the high moral ground as we call on other parties to reduce emissions," she said.
But Legarda remained optimistic that with the Climate Change Commission's (CCS) recently issued resolution, stricter measures will be implemented in the issuance of ECCs for plants.
The CCC, chaired by President Benigno Aquino III, issued a resolution mandating the agency to lead an urgent and comprehensive review of the government's energy policy within the next six months and conduct a national policy review and framework development on energy, through a whole-of-nation approach, in accordance with a low carbon development pathway and national goals and targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.
"I am optimistic that with the CCC resolution, stricter standards will be followed in the issuance of ECCs for plants, which should include the measurement of their GHG emissions and impacts on health and the environment," Legarda said.
"I am in full support of President Aquino's order to government to review the current energy policy and I hope he will seize the opportunity to push for pro-environmental projects to mitigate climate change, which our country badly needs. (Sunnex)