FIRST PHILIPPINE HOLDINGS IS A CORPORATION THAT IS CONSTANTLY IN ACTION. WE’RE ALWAYS TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO DELIVER FOR OUR STAKEHOLDERS AND THE FILIPINO PEOPLE.
Last March, 700 people from 58 countries came together in Manila to attend the 31st Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, held by the Climate Reality Project, a diverse group of passionate individuals working together to help solve the global climate crisis.
Chaired and founded by former United States Vice-President Al Gore, the Climate Reality Project also partnered with the Oscar M. Lopez Center, the Lopez Group’s climate resiliency research institute, to launch a branch in the Philippines. Currently, the organization is active in over 30 countries worldwide.
The Philippines was chosen as the venue for the 31st training session precisely because of its susceptibility to extreme weather events brought about by climate change. In a report by Germanwatch, which releases the annual Global Climate Risk Index, the Philippines ranked as the number one country experiencing weather-related disasters between 1995 and 2014. Gore hoped the training would build upon the momentum from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, and bring to the table solutions from all corners of the world, with special focus on the Philippines and other countries most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change.
Aside from Gore, keynote speakers included Senator Loren Legarda, who talked about the Road to Decarbonization. She named carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants as one of the main culprits behind global warming, and she lamented that while there seems to be progress in other countries, and an overall movement toward the diversification of the power sector away from coal, the same cannot be said about the Philippines.
“In fact, 25 coal-fired power plants that have been granted Environmental Compliance Certificates are now either operational or under construction,” she said.
Sen. Legarda also vowed to introduce an energy efficient bill that would champion the progressive reduction of coal-fired plants, while working toward banning their construction altogether.
Gore encouraged Philippine climate leaders to push for the use of clean, renewable energy from wind, solar, hydro, biomass and especially geothermal sources, which is very abundant in the country.
Dr. Madan Gautam, a research coordinator at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Studies in Australia, also talked about Climate Resilient Development in Asia. Federico R. Lopez, Chairman and CEO of First Philippine Holdings Corp., provided a reaction to the keynote speech. He focused on the Ten Acts to Take for a Climate-Resilient ASEAN, which talked about the challenges and successes of Energy Development Corporation – the largest renewable energy company in the country today. Its portfolio includes 1,188 megawatts of geothermal, and a combined 286 megawatts of hydro, wind, and solar.
In his speech, FRL highlighted the importance of mounting a concerted and cooperative effort to understand the climate crisis and collectively prepare for it.
“Adaptation to climate realities is undoubtedly not a one-time event as the new normal is still evolving,” he said. “It will take years, maybe decades. But all the attitudes and learnings we take should form a positive feedback loop that will just get better over time.”