2015 Annual Report

Messages

What’s become even clearer for us is that disaster preparedness and response must become a prime area of competence and expertise. It’s not just a question of how well we can do it but also how seamlessly we coordinate and integrate this capability with that of our host communities, as well as local and national governments and other private companies. Climate change mitigation isn’t something you can do alone but within the context of wider and smarter collaboration with everyone else.

The Philippines performed a crucial role in the recent COP 21 climate talks in Paris, chairing the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)−an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to climate change, and the V20−the group of finance ministers representing twenty of the most vulnerable nations in the world. Both the CVF and the V20 provided the much-needed emotional plea for a decarbonized world and although the agreements reached in Paris were dramatic, experts know they are still not enough. The world is still in dire need of more such powerful voices to turn the tide in time to avert a global catastrophe. Sadly, however, our credibility was built on the backs of thousands of Filipino lives, homes, and livelihoods that have already been lost and destroyed by climate change. The power of that voice grows only if we show the will to decarbonize our own economy. Conversely, that power dies when our actions are not consistent with that voice.

There are times when I hear otherwise responsible quarters from the business sector and our power industry reason that since the Philippines is responsible for only 0.3 percent of global carbon emissions we have the right to continue building more coal-fired power plants. Doing so, the argument goes, will help us reduce power costs, create more jobs, and allow the Philippines to catch-up with other nations and industrialize. That way of thinking could have passed muster a decade ago. However, given what we know about global climate today, that assertion is downright thoughtless and unconscionable. Every ton of carbon spewed into the air reverberates onto millions of vulnerable Filipino lives with an impact that’s disproportionate with the rest of the world. Meeting the economy’s power demand with more coal-fired plants today means “locking-in” those high-carbon emissions for decades. And more time wasted changing course will only mean more lives lost, devastated, and more of our world vanishing, never to be recaptured again. This is a pivotal time for the world and so much depends on everyone thinking and rowing in the same direction, doing one’s share no matter how small. Business-as-usual is a sure road to disaster. These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary change and everyone must shift to thinking about the fastest route to a decarbonized economy.

It is our aim that First Gen, and its subsidiary companies, will be among the bright navigating stars of the Philippine energy industry, blazing a path toward a decarbonized economy. It will not be easy and we will have to explore many roads not taken but this is where opportunities will be created and won. At EDC, it is not lost on us that geothermal energy is the only one among the renewable energy (RE) technologies that’s already capable of baseload operation today. For RE technologies, this is the Holy Grail. But assuring its place in a low carbon world means continually driving costs down, breaking away from complacency, and constantly innovating our way towards a more competitive future. EDC must be laser-focused on innovation if it wants to assure a place for geothermal energy in the new energy paradigm that’s evolving here and abroad.

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What’s become even clearer for us is that disaster preparedness and response must become a prime area of competence and expertise. It’s not just a question of how well we can do it but also how seamlessly we coordinate and integrate this capability with that of our host communities, as well as local and national governments and other private companies. Climate change mitigation isn’t something you can do alone but within the context of wider and smarter collaboration with everyone else.

The Philippines performed a crucial role in the recent COP 21 climate talks in Paris, chairing the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)−an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to climate change, and the V20−the group of finance ministers representing twenty of the most vulnerable nations in the world. Both the CVF and the V20 provided the much-needed emotional plea for a decarbonized world and although the agreements reached in Paris were dramatic, experts know they are still not enough. The world is still in dire need of more such powerful voices to turn the tide in time to avert a global catastrophe. Sadly, however, our credibility was built on the backs of thousands of Filipino lives, homes, and livelihoods that have already been lost and destroyed by climate change. The power of that voice grows only if we show the will to decarbonize our own economy. Conversely, that power dies when our actions are not consistent with that voice.

There are times when I hear otherwise responsible quarters from the business sector and our power industry reason that since the Philippines is responsible for only 0.3 percent of global carbon emissions we have the right to continue building more coal-fired power plants. Doing so, the argument goes, will help us reduce power costs, create more jobs, and allow the Philippines to catch-up with other nations and industrialize. That way of thinking could have passed muster a decade ago. However, given what we know about global climate today, that assertion is downright thoughtless and unconscionable. Every ton of carbon spewed into the air reverberates onto millions of vulnerable Filipino lives with an impact that’s disproportionate with the rest of the world. Meeting the economy’s power demand with more coal-fired plants today means “locking-in” those high-carbon emissions for decades. And more time wasted changing course will only mean more lives lost, devastated, and more of our world vanishing, never to be recaptured again. This is a pivotal time for the world and so much depends on everyone thinking and rowing in the same direction, doing one’s share no matter how small. Business-as-usual is a sure road to disaster. These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary change and everyone must shift to thinking about the fastest route to a decarbonized economy.

It is our aim that First Gen, and its subsidiary companies, will be among the bright navigating stars of the Philippine energy industry, blazing a path toward a decarbonized economy. It will not be easy and we will have to explore many roads not taken but this is where opportunities will be created and won. At EDC, it is not lost on us that geothermal energy is the only one among the renewable energy (RE) technologies that’s already capable of baseload operation today. For RE technologies, this is the Holy Grail. But assuring its place in a low carbon world means continually driving costs down, breaking away from complacency, and constantly innovating our way towards a more competitive future. EDC must be laser-focused on innovation if it wants to assure a place for geothermal energy in the new energy paradigm that’s evolving here and abroad.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5