Clean energy advocates called on the Philippine government to halt plans for continued expansion of gas power in the wake of US President Joe Biden’s announcement that the USA will be taking a break in issuing liquefied natural gas (LNG) export approvals, citing socio-economic and climate motivations.
The USA was the biggest exporter of LNG globally in 2023, and is a primary supporter of LNG industry development in the Philippines.
Under the Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) Initiative, the USA supported the Philippine government in developing gas and LNG sector legal and regulatory frameworks and best practices.
“This pause in LNG exports by the US is no small thing. It is a breather for our planet ill with rapidly changing climate systems, for American communities battling gas pollution and consumers facing high power costs from extensive export activities in recent years.
The Philippine government would do right by Filipinos if it does the same and halts plans to expand importation and use of costly, destructive gas power,” said Bishop Gerry Alminaza, lead convenor of clean energy group Wag Gas and chairperson of the National Laudato Si’ Program - Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
The Philippines is currently planning over 39 GW of new gas capacity and a dozen LNG import terminals. LNG figures as a primary component of the draft Philippine Energy Plan, which has been the subject of criticism by civil society and communities for being out of touch with economic, climate, and environmental realities confronted by Filipinos.
“The massive LNG expansion outlined in the draft PEP perpetuates community loss amid the worsening of the climate crisis. The pro-gas PEP spells doom for our generation who will be locked into 20 more years of gas, branding it as ‘transition fuel’ despite its consequences. Ignoring the harmful impacts of LNG on our ecosystems and climate is a disservice to the Filipino people and generations to come, who will suffer the irreversible impacts of climate change,” said Krishna Ariola, co-founder of Youth for Climate Hope Philippines on the gas development agenda of the Philippines.
According to the advocates, the US’s move should be a wake-up call for the Philippines to wean away exported fossil fuels and focus on developing its indigenous renewable energy resources.
“This pause on US LNG exports is a clear signal to end the fossil fuel era and phase in a full renewable energy transition in the Philippines. We have an abundant renewable energy potential we have yet to tap - over 1,200 GW from wind and solar alone,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) and co-Convenor of WagGas. (PR)