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READ: Civil Society Groups Respond to 2nd Draft of the NDC

In the draft, the government commits to reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions to 75 percent until the year 2030.

On February 3 this year, the Philippine government has shared with civil society organizations the second draft of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of the Philippines. The NDC is a form of ‘investment strategy’ regarding carbon emissions in the country, including the general public, civil society organizations (CSOs), academe, and even the private sectors.

In the said draft, the government committed to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2020 and 2030 by 75 percent —significantly higher than the first commitment which was at 30 percent by 2040. And while this is a welcome development for the environment, Philippine CSOs are still concerned about some provisions about the NDC.

“There still remains significant issues and challenges regarding the NDC draft, which continues to resemble a document seemingly focused more on compliance than substance,” they said in a joint statement. (Read: How Typhoon Yolanda Inspired This Millennial to Fight for Climate Justice)

It comes as the “huge leap” to 75 percent reduction from the initial 30 percent presents no calculations and technical considerations. Hence, CSOs are urging the government to provide more avenues for discourse and consultation between CSOs, the Climate Change Commission (CCC), and other involved agencies and institutions in crafting, implementing, and monitoring the NDC.

Addressing Climate Emergency

BAGUIO CITY— The area where 53 natural grown Benguet pine trees and one Norfolk pine tree were felled to give way for a high-rise condominium by private developer Vista Residences Inc., (photo from Ace Alegre / Tawid News Magazine)

In addition, the joint statement calls for the government to involve more of the Agriculture, Waste, Industry, Transportation, Forestry, and Energy (AWITFE) sectors and include the policies and strategies dedicated to these sectors.

“Strategies covering cross-cutting issues, and associated technical and financial details must be reflected in the NDC, as it would further show the country’s strong commitment and confidence in addressing the climate emergency,” the CSOs explained. (Read: 10 Prayers from the Bible to Inspire Change in Your Life)

In the document, they also recommended that the NDC include ways to transition to organic agriculture (which can decrease GHG emissions and even improve the quality of soil for agriculture) and promote local food production by assisting different sectors in transitioning into more sustainable and self-sufficient methods of production.

Farm workers organize the produce, packing them in rolled-up cones made from banana leaves. (Photo by Vic Guerrero)

Strengthening Policies

Philippine Civil Society Organizations are also calling for the strengthening of already-implemented policies when it comes to waste management and prevention of coal plants in the country. (Read: Catholic Groups Urge Duterte to Reject Coal, Ban Fossil Fuels)

“It is improbable for the Philippines to achieve its aspirational target of a peaking year by 2030 if there is no strong policy direction to prevent more coal plants from entering its power sector,” they explained. “We must stop using the Philippines’s status as a low GHG emitter as an excuse to not say no to coal.”

Coal gathered from the shores of Quirino, Bacnotan in La Union, after tons of coal spilled from the nearby Holcim cement factory. (Photo from Raffy Lerma / Greenpeace)

As for waste management, the CSOs are “opposing the inclusion of thermal-based waste-to-energy technologies in the Philippine NDC,” as it creates a significant amount of emissions during the process. In exchange, the government should promote and strengthen policies regarding ecological solid waste management. (Read: 3 Ways to Start Living Zero-Waste This 2021)

“While we welcome the inclusion of policies and measures that would mitigate short-lived climate pollutants or SLCPs (i.e., methane through climate-smart agricultural activities, black carbon through modernizing of vehicular fleets, HFCs through promotion of low-GWP refrigerants), the mitigation of SLCPs must nonetheless be reflected in decarbonization pathways for the Philippines in the NDC, with clear targets and timelines,” they explained.

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