Is Low Carbon Economy Our Future?

February 18, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda’s Opening Message

“Is Low Carbon Economy Our Future?”

A Round Table Discussion

18 February 2015 – Philippine Senate

The Philippine Senate is honored to partner today with the British Embassy and the Chevening Alumni Foundation for another opportunity to discuss a policy matter that recognizes the urgency of addressing the climate crisis: the transition to a low-carbon economy.

We are pleased to welcome Mr. Matt Nottingham of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office who has flown in from London to present key findings of the study, “Better Growth, Better Climate: New Climate Economy Report”.

Our two countries share common values and a fundamental commitment to good governance, rule of law, democracy and more importantly, concern for the environment. We are deeply grateful to the UK government for its commitment to support developing countries such as ours in climate change mitigation and adaptation and building resilience through its International Climate Fund worth 3.8 billion pounds from 2011 until 2016.

I believe that knowledge sharing is critically important and mutually beneficial. Climate change knows no boundaries, and its impact is felt all over the world. Hence, a paradigm shift to a sustainable energy system requires close, cross-sector collaboration – between governments, businesses and civil society.

Definitely, we need to reverse the global warming trend because the extreme weather events we are experiencing threaten our basic human rights—food, health, potable water, decent shelter, and even life itself.

Further impacts on our economy will be significant. Based on a study by the Asian Development Bank, the country stands to lose six percent of its GDP annually by 2100 if it disregards climate change risks.

The private sector is likewise threatened by climate change. Changing weather patterns and extreme weather events could also cause business interruption and infrastructure damage as it affects operating costs, markets for products and availability of raw materials.

A low-carbon lifestyle entails eating more of local, plant-based and in-season food, because food that comes from distant places utilizes more energy for transportation and preservation, resulting to greater carbon emissions.

A shift to a low-carbon lifestyle would also mean a shift to indigenous and renewable energy sources to economize on energy consumption; considering energy-efficient transport modes like walking, biking and taking public transport; maximizing the use of natural light and wind flow in house design; and building rainwater catchment recycling systems.

Moreover, we should strive for a zero waste economy where the output of each resource use is converted into input for another use. We can precycle by avoiding buying unnecessary goods, repairing electronics and appliances, and patronizing recycled products. We can also develop livelihood programs using recycled waste materials.

These practices do not demand much from us. We just have to take that first crucial step of actually taking action.

I challenge all of us here to bring vigor to this discussion and share valuable insights from our respective agencies and sectors.

Thank you and good afternoon.