The Paris Agreement and PH's fossil fuel industry

The most effective way to reduce the impact of the fossil fuel industry in the Philippines is to convince investors to shift their investments from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Research must be done to identify significant renewable energy sources and locations to fuel sustainable development. The government must also provide subsidies to the private sector to stimulate the shift without sacrificing their long-term profits.  

“The only way to convince them is to have an economic analysis that will say it will be a losing end for them to explore fossil fuels. Because they will lose money, we need to have a good narrative for the private sector,” Bercilla said.

She further emphasized that the people themselves need to put the pressure on the national government to work towards fulfilling its committed INDC. They need to increase their awareness regarding the activities of the fossil fuel industry and willingly change their lifestyle to bring about this shift.

“Are you willing to give up some of your cars or will people be willing to walk? Can we organize ourselves so that we don't have to drive long distances to do our jobs?” Bercilla asked.  

Rodrigo adds that some of the fossil fuel companies in the country will be naturally phased out by emerging economic trends.

“You let the market do it on their own. Recent analyses are saying it's not enough to make people realize if they shift to green energy, they will make more money. I believe certain industries will naturally realize clean and ecological means will make money for them, but some of them will be extinguished,” she said.

Time is certainly not on our side. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that the 1.5 degree Celsius limit may be reached within just 5 years for current emission rates, which is supported by other analyses that current pledges may instead result in a 2.5 to 2.7-degree global warming, higher than either the 1.5 or 2 degree target.

The Paris agreement has yet to enter into force, which requires 55 countries that produce at least 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions to ratify it. Nonetheless, it may be enough to put a decisive end to the fossil fuel industry.   

“It was not a perfect agreement, but the mere fact that you recognize that it is human-induced and caused by greenhouse gases is already enough to give us traction to move forward,” Bercilla said. -

John Leo Algo is a graduate student and climate researcher who also volunteers for WWF Philippines, the Haribon Foundation, and the Manila Observatory. He recently completed the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training hosted by Al Gore from March 14 to 16 in Manila.