Legarda at IPU Calls for Coal Phase Out to Achieve SDGs

March 26, 2018


As the head of the Philippine delegation to the 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, Switzerland, Senator Loren Legarda called for a more aggressive effort to achieve the agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially on the aspect of renewable energy development.

Speaking during the breakout session of the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade, Legarda emphasized the need to phase out the use of fossil fuels, especially coal, and subsequently shift to renewable energy to mitigate environmental pollution during the presentation of the draft resolution, “Engaging the private sector in implementing the SDGs, especially on renewable energy.”

As a known advocate of sustainable development, Legarda told her fellow legislators that as leaders of their respective parliaments, they must thrive to transform the world into something worthy of passing on to the future generation.

“We must deliver not just development, but sustainable, inclusive and equitable development that should be enjoyed not only by the youth and children of today but also of the generations that will come after us,” Legarda said.

During her interventions, Legarda stressed the need to abide by the nationally determined contributions or NDCs under the Paris Agreement, be forthright not just in its implementation, but to totally end dependency on fossil fuel, particularly coal.

The Senator cited that there have been many countries including the United Kingdom, Germany and France that have clearly set a timeline to shut down their coal plants. Thus, it is also doable for the rest of the countries to particularly emphasize the transition from fossil fuel and to shut down all coal plants by a certain year.

Moreover, Legarda promotes the use of microgrids so that energy infrastructures will be embedded, distributed and therefore cheaper and more accessible.

“The reason why electricity in other countries could be rendered expensive is because of the usual requirement of distribution utilities and transmission lines. This does not make for resilient energy infrastructure because it becomes too expensive. If we resort to using embedded generation or distribute energy through solar microgrids, we do not have to rely on long transmission lines in energizing remote areas in our countries,” she explained.

Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience and UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan Champion, also called for the commitment of fellow parliamentarians to work towards limiting global warming to 1.5°C. She explained that a breach on the 1.5°C threshold will result in more adverse impacts, particularly extreme weather events, resulting in eradication of a large percentage of biodiversity.

“I would like to emphasize the need to cap the world’s warming to only 1.5 degrees Celsius, because as it is now, we already reached 1 degree Celsius. With all the disasters and impacts of climate change in different parts of the world, we may face the complete annihilation of the world’s coral reefs, the migration of tens of millions within countries and, even outside our borders, the inundation of islands, coastal cities, nations and communities. We face the collapse of agriculture and ecosystems on which each of us depend for livelihood, food, jobs and industry,” she stressed.

Legarda concluded that her call to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, such as microgrids, are valuable components of low carbon emissions development strategy and climate resilient growth to address growing power needs of the world today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.