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Phase out fossil fuels to limit global warming, environmental groups urge

12:07 PM March 20, 2018

The world must phase out fossil fuels and aim for higher greenhouse gas emission reductions to avert catastrophic climate change impacts to highly vulnerable countries such as the Philippines, local environment groups said after the U.N.’s highest scientific body warned that global warming would likely breach 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels by the 2040s.

“A temperature increase of 1.5˚C is dangerous for Filipinos as it will affect our lives, economy, environment and future. Going beyond that threshold will be a disaster,” Khevin Yu, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines, said in an interview.

UN Scientists: 1.5˚C warming no longer possible to achieve with current country pledges

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Global warming is likely to exceed 1.5˚C by mid-century despite emission cuts pledged under the Paris Agreement, the landmark climate treaty signed by more than 190 nations in 2015, according to a draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.N. scientific body of the world’s leading scientists, which is due for release in October.

The report also highlighted the destructive impacts of global warming beyond 1.5˚C such as more frequent and intense tropical cyclones and increased water and food scarcity due to more severe droughts.

“Globally, the poorest people are projected to experience the impacts of 1.5˚C global warming predominantly through increased food prices, food insecurity and hunger … adverse health impacts and population displacement,” it added.

‘Sticking with Paris Agreement is not enough’

“We still think limiting global warming to 1.5˚C is possible if all countries go beyond their commitments. Sticking with just the Paris Agreement is not enough,” Yu said.

Containing global warming would require rapid and deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as well as exploring carbon capture storage technology — mechanisms that suck carbon dioxide from the air and store them in the ground, the IPCC report said.

However, Yu and other environment advocates warn that these technologies are ‘false solutions’ that only delay the shift to renewable energy and prolong fossil fuel dependence.

Phase out fossil fuels

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“We should move to phase out fossil fuels as an energy source. Government needs a serious shake-up to develop solar and wind energy in the country,” Tetet Lauron, program manager of climate justice at think tank IBON International said.

Despite ratifying the Paris Agreement in 2017, the Philippines is still highly dependent on fossil fuels for its energy, with coal accounting for 48% of its energy mix, according to the Department of Energy.

The country also has 10,423 megawatts in coal-fired power plant expansion in the pipeline, according to a study released by the Institute of Climate and Sustainable Cities.

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TAGS: Climate Change, coal, Greenpeace Philippines, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Khevin Yu, Paris agreement, renewable energy
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