22 March 2016

Experts urge Subic Freeport stakeholders to use renewable energy

Experts invited by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Thursday urged business locaters and residents in Subic Bay Freeport area to start using renewable energy to help minimize ecological damage and slow down climate change.

In the forum “Climate Change Management and Green Energy: Making Business Green Through Renewable Energy,” speakers led by Climate Change Commissioner Heherson Alvarez explained that the continuing emission of carbon into the atmosphere would create serious consequences like global warming and a drop in global food production.

The forum, which was organized by the SBMA Ecology Center, convened residents, investors, workers, and other stakeholders of the Freeport. The speakers included Alvarez, Dean Felino Lansigan of the College of Arts and Sciences in the University of the Philippines at Los BaƱos (UPLB), and Forester Rex Victor Cruz, who is also the Chancellor of UPLB.

In the forum, Alvarez and the other speakers warned of the dire effects of environmental destruction from the use of carbon-based energy sources and encouraged the tapping of energy from wind, sun, and water.

“Even a temperature increase of just 1.5 degrees Celsius will drive the fish to go deeper and farther into the open seas, as temperature increase may kill all the fish near the coast due to overheating,” Alvarez said.

The increase in global temperature, he said, is caused by over-emission of carbon into the atmosphere from millions of gas-fed vehicles, factories, machines, and power generators.

Alvarez pointed that the Aquino administration has officially committed an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) target of 70 percent greenhouse gas reduction below business-as-usual levels by 2030. This primarily covers the energy, transport, forestry, waste, and industry sectors.

“That’s why we have to invest in our future and build renewable energy sources, while every Filipino should cut the usual emission of carbon,” Alvarez said.

“Let us mobilize every heart [person] to cut the use of carbon. Remember that we are on the edge of human extinction,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lansigan talked about the effects of climate change on food security and sustainable development, and pointed out that a one-degree increase in temperature would mean a 14.12 percent drop in corn and rice production and that from 20 to 30 percent of crop species would be at risk of extinction.

“Maraming lupa ang lulubog, maraming pananim at hayop ang masisira kung hindi man mawala na, kung hindi natin mapaghahandaan ang climate change,” he said.

Cruz, for his part, explained that while there may be downsides in the use of renewable energy, “cutting the use of carbon will save mankind from extinction.”

Atty. Ruel John Kabigting, who is officer in charge of the SBMA Ecology Center, assured the speakers and stakeholders in Subic Bay Freeport of the agency’s support and participation in various actions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

He also pointed out that because the SBMA strictly enforces laws and policies on environmental protection, the Subic Freeport remains to be the home of many species of plants and animals.

The participants in the forum also all agreed that the government and private groups should start developing and using renewable energy technologies, which are considered healthier to both man and his environment. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

Climate Change Commissioner Alvarez talks about the dire consequences of the use of carbon-based fuels while at the same time pushes for increased utilization of renewal energy at the Climate Change Management & Green Energy Forum in Subic Bay Freeport. (photo by Forester Patrick Escusa)