EDC president and COO Richard TantocoThe energy sector is a significant contributor to climate change, which underscores why industry players should act collectively and decisively to switch to low-carbon options. This was the main point raised by Richard Tantoco at the 1st Philippine Environment Summit held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay.
The president and chief operating officer of Energy Development Corporation (EDC) highlighted the fact that countries that have depended on coal plants as their main source of electricity have learned that such reliance can ultimately be very costly.
“On an ex-plant basis, coal may readily appear to be the cheaper option…but what other countries may have saved in electricity prices…is quickly being eroded by the mounting social and environmental costs that they did not foresee or simply chose to ignore,” he said.
He cited a study by the International Monetary Fund on the environmental and health costs not included in the price of fossil fuels like coal, which amounted to $5.3 trillion for 2015 alone. In terms of disasters, the Philippines and 19 other countries comprising V20—or nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change—face an average of around 50,000 climate change-related deaths per year.
Tantoco said that the Philippine government’s COP 21 commitments, including that of undertaking GHG emissions reduction of about 70% by 2030, is a critical step in the right direction.
“I certainly hope that we do not have to learn the lessons from the mistakes that we will knowingly commit moving forward because to do so would make our future generations suffer the consequences of going the ‘fake cheap’ route. Rather, we should see this as an opportunity to take the time to take up cleaner and more efficient technologies that manage environmental, health and social impacts better,” the EDC chief stressed.