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PHL must make case for emission reductions to mobilize climate finance, UNESCAP says

By Beatriz Marie D. Cruz, Reporter

THE Philippine government must tap climate financing to fast-track its transition towards greener modes of transport, but before it can do so, it needs to commit to a certain level of emissions reduction over the medium term, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) said.

“Green financing and climate financing are tied to emission reductions,” Madan B. Regmi, who heads UNESCAP’s sustainable mobility, transport and climate change and low carbon transport portfolio, said in a video interview. 

“So the (government) needs to develop projects to demonstrate that it is planning to reduce emissions within five years or 10 years after implementation (by quantifying) how much emissions can be saved so they can qualify (for the financing),” he said.

Adopting electric vehicles (EVs) would be cost efficient in the long run after an initial period of high costs, Mr. Regmi said.

The Department of Finance has said it is planning to tap the Green Climate Fund to support four priority projects in the pipeline worth $124 million.

The government has been promoting “greener” forms of transport as it committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030 under the Paris Agreement.

To achieve this, the government should also fast-track the inclusion of renewables in its energy mix to ensure sufficient power supply for EVs, Mr. Regmi added.

The Philippines hopes to bring the share of renewables in the power generation mix to 35% by 2030 and to 50% by 2040.

It is also a key producer of critical minerals like nickel, chromite, cobalt, and copper for EVs.

The National Economic and Development Authority Board has expanded tariff cuts to electric motorcycles (e-motorcycles), electric bicycles (e-bicycles) and hybrid EVs.

However, the adoption of safe and environment-friendly public transport is hampered by the lack of coordination between local officials, especially in the capital region.

“Many things are done in isolation,” he said, noting that local governments as well as the Department of Transportation should come up with a development master plan that would be applicable across changes in leadership.

He also cited the need to develop critical infrastructure that would encourage a shift from a “car-centric” behavior to public modes of transport.