The Department of Energy (DOE) has steered clear of any commitment to phase out coal-fired power plants in the Philippines, as stipulated in its pledge to the ongoing 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

In a formal correspondence to Alastair Totty, chargĂ© d’affaires at the British Embassy-Manila, who solicited the country’s support to the “Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement” that was launched at the COP26 Summit by the Energy Transition Ministerial Meeting, DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said the country’s unwavering support to energy transition will primarily rely on renewable energy (RE) installations and deployment of energy efficiency technologies.

There is nothing in the DOE’s letter-commitment that it will pull the plug on coal-fired power generation in the country.

Instead, the energy secretary demanded “climate justice” from more industrialized nations that have spewed higher scale carbon emissions which ended up to be very disastrous to humanity, including to climate-vulnerable countries like the Philippines.

“We would like to reiterate the energy sector’s call for climate justice given that the Philippines is not a major emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) but bear the worsening impacts of climate change,” Cusi stressed.

At this stage, Cusi emphasized that it is “energy security” that is foremost in the country’s agenda, “because our energy transition comes as a means to improve the lives of our people and for our country’s economic development.”

The Philippines is still sporadically assaulted with service interruptions and tight power supply predicaments. The post-pandemic economic recovery may teeter on the edge of an energy crunch in the near-term due to the phaseout of coal-fed power facilities that could trigger unwanted blackouts.

The energy department indicated that its pledge to COP 26’s global decarbonization strategy will be primarily propped by “scaled up deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures in our economies, and to support other countries to do the same.”

The DOE further stated that it will “strengthen (its) domestic and international efforts to provide a robust framework of financial, technical and social support to affected workers, sectors and communities to make a just and inclusive transition.”

Cusi said the government is aware that “while significant progress has been made to realize our shared vision, our task is not yet complete, and we call on others to join us as we redouble our efforts to accelerate the global energy transition over the coming years.”

The position of the DOE, however, does not sit well with environment advocates like Greenpeace which branded country’s commitment to COP26 as “phony” and “half hearted.”

Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Kevin Yu asserted that the reception of countries to the “coal phaseout target” by year 2030, “shows the lack of political will among major historical and current emitters – as well as countries like the Philippines – to urgently solve the climate crisis and the injustices it brings to communities.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (