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Bolder steps urged vs carbon

Thursday, September 03, 2015 12:00 AM    Views : 336by:Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines should take bolder action in reducing carbon emissions following a report that air pollution in China is killing about 4,000 people a day, Sen. Loren Legarda said recently.

"We should act quickly to prevent such an incident severe air pollution from happening in our country. The faster we act, the greater the chances are of avoiding the most debilitating effects of extreme weather events," she said.

Legarda last week cited the urgent need to shift to cleaner energy sources after noting that high pollution levels in China cause more than a million premature deaths per year.

"Let us not make the situation worse by ignoring the health risks and economic costs of the worsening levels of air pollution. Producing clean energy from wind, water and other renewable power sources must be the priority of the government because they are not only sustainable, they also lessen the country's dependence on so-called dirty energy like coal," she said.

The senator cited a study of the World Health Organization, which says that air pollution is the world's biggest environmental problem. About eight million people worldwide die each year because of poor air quality.

Legarda lamented that the Philippines is not moving quickly enough to implement the National Renewable Energy Program in terms of prioritizing renewable energy sources, and instead would even allow more coal-fired power plants to be constructed in the next years.

Since 2010, 21 coal-fired power plant projects have been granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The current energy mix, according to the Department of Energy, puts coal with the highest share at 32 percent in terms of installed sources, and the share could go up as high as 70 percent by 2030 if no interventions are made.

"We must decrease our dependence on coal, otherwise we only contribute to our own vulnerability to climate change," the senator said.

Legarda noted that the Philippines has laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Renewable Energy Law, which if implemented properly, will greatly improve air quality.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/science-and-environment/2015/09/03/1495214/bolder-steps-urged-vs-carbon

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