Tuesday, February 24, 2015
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda urged the government to consider a long-term transition to a low-carbon economy, noting that investments in clean energy and low-carbon infrastructure will determine the future of our nation and the future generations.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, stressed that the idea of a low-carbon economy may seem ideal at first but if we look at the worsening effects of conventional energy sources such as fossil fuels to our health and environment, it should not be hard to understand the need to adopt the said concept.
Citing a study from the World Health Organization, Legarda said air pollution has caused seven million premature deaths worldwide in 2012. Moreover, she stressed that the traffic congestion in Metro Manila alone is costing us an equivalent of four percent of our GDP.
“We can start with building our cities in a smart way. Better connected, more compact cities based on mass public transport are economically more dynamic, safer and healthier, and have lower emissions,” Legarda said, citing the study, Better Growth, Better Climate: New Climate Economy Report.
She added, “The concept of road-sharing among pedestrians, cyclists and motorists should be adopted. The Bayanihan sa Daan movement we are supporting promotes a paradigm shift from the motor vehicle-based transportation system to a multi-modal system, wherein people are not dependent on their own motorized vehicles every time they go out, instead, they can choose different modes of transportation depending on their needs—walking or biking for short distances, and safe, reliable, inexpensive and convenient public transportation system for long distance trips”.
As a concrete strategy, Legarda said our government must encourage investments on renewable energy and ensure the sustainable use and management of our land and other natural resources as studies reveal that restoring 12% of the world’s degraded lands can already feed another 200 million people, raise farmers’ incomes by US$40 billion a year, and also cut emissions from deforestation.
Legarda is the author of the National Land Use Bill which seeks to provide a unified legal framework that will ensure a rational, holistic and just allocation, use and management of the country’s land resources.
Last week, the Philippine Senate, the British Embassy and the Chevening Alumni Foundation organized a roundtable discussion on the topic, “Is low carbon economy our future?”
The highlight of the forum was a presentation by Mr. Matt Nottingham of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office about key findings of the study, Better Growth, Better Climate: New Climate Economy Report, which stresses the idea that there should be no tension between economic development and a low carbon economy. In fact, this paradigm shift could be the very answer to achieving high-quality, resilient and inclusive economic growth.