What should Philippines do?

Enhance its NDC to be 1.5 degree aligned by COP26:

  • Provide an absolute and unconditional emissions target
  • Include to extent possible sectoral plans and measures to implement unconditional target
  • Submit an LTS that aims at net-zero emissions in the second half of the century
  • Provide indications of how energy and transport policies and sectoral plans can 1) achieve the unconditional and conditional NDC; 2) achieve LTS, peak and reduce emissions
  • The LTS can detail the finance and technology support needed to achieve early emissions peak, phase-out, and attract support and investments
  • Have a coal phase out plan: On the basis of the moratorium on new coal power plants construction in early 2020s, raise coal and gas phase-out option before 2050, cancel additional planned/announced coal and gas power capacity

What you need to know about Philippines?

  • The Philippines missed the 2020 deadline for submission of its enhanced NDC, now delayed to 2021
  • Current NDC under the Paris Agreement: -70% below BAU by 2030 and 100% conditional
  • Current baselines are problematic
  • Contested or only partial ownership, or no ownership at all, of the targets in key national agencies such as energy, transport, economic planning, finance, agriculture, environment, forestry
  • The Department of Finance could play an active leadership role in the NDC-effort by focusing on enhancing an investment agenda through credible low-carbon development strategies (the Department of Energy suggests a target of USD35 billion between now and 2040).
Recovery Measures to Highlight

  • Transition to low carbon transport vehicles and systems
  • Dramatically accelerate implementation of non-motorized active mobility transport strategies

Recent developments, threats and levers for action

Recent developments

  • After strong initial indications that the Philippines would enhance its NDC in 2020 – this has however not the case and the submission of a new NDC has now been delayed to 2021. This is partly an outcome of bad diplomatic coordination and mis-aligned domestic government political and policy coordination, and not necessarily because the Philippines does not want to strengthen its NDC
  • However, the Philippine Department of Energy made great strides in 2020 by issuing a moratorium on greenfield coal projects and supporting rapid energy transition in small island grids
  • Grid instability demonstrates excess coal capacity and urgent need for a moratorium on new coal
  • In a fully liberalized electricity sector, effective competition policy and upgraded grid are keys to jumpstarting decarbonization strategies, energy security, economic development, reduction or elimination of stranding fossil risks
  • Finance regulators Central Bank and Securities and Exchange Commission heavily intervene to ensure reduction of transition risks while managing stranding coal and fossil gas assets impact
  • Incentives to small island electric cooperatives to eliminate diesel in small island grids and reduce main island bills and create more space for VRE
  • Operation of ambitious active mobility and electrified transport system and strategies in 3-5 years
  • Decarbonization becomes central to economic planning agency and finance ministry agenda to reorient growth areas to low-carbon, climate-resilient strategies
  • Finance ministry announces its intention to pursue an economy-wide carbon tax
  • Local governments compete for modern, low carbon leadership brand

Strengths

  • Implementation of NDC anchored on effective competition rules and high demand for low carbon and mass transport solutions

Opportunities

  • Pin down unconditional NDC share
  • Aim decarbonization strategies at China BRI
  • Encourage tech and capacity South-South skill share in SEA
  • Use PHL advances to degrade coal fortunes in Indonesia
  • Investment in credible low-carbon development strategies (Department of Energy suggests a target of USD35 billion between now and 2040)
  • Climate-aligned recovery measures that could generate significant employment and incomes: Accelerating the energy transition and decentralized, variable renewable energy (VRE)-powered development,  advancing active mobility to promote thriving neighbourhoods and local commerce

Weaknesses

  • Ownership of long-term climate and economic benefits of decarbonization remains shallow and mixed among agency leads

Threats

  • Competitive power sector is essential first step but inadequate for decarbonization
  • Agency ownership of LTS remains weak and partial

About Climate Diplomacy Snapshots

The data is clear. Accelerated and enhanced action is needed now to build resilience and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. As they seek to address the ongoing health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19, governments should seize opportunities to invest in a recovery that will build social, economic and climate resilience on the long-term.The Climate Diplomacy Snapshots aim to provide the climate community with a clear overview of what each country should do, on climate and recovery, to pursue these joint objectives and keep the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C. Each has been prepared with the help of national experts, and will be regularly updated. The snapshots aim to support climate advocacy in the lead up to COP26, and in particular around key upcoming moments such as the Climate Ambition Summit on 12 December 2020 and midnight on 31 December 2020, when 120 countries have committed to deliver enhanced commitments.

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