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Legarda: Invest in renewable energy to save planet, jobs

Harnessing solar energy to produce electricity as an option to burning fossil fuels that contribute to global climate change. Photographed by Erwin Mascariñas, InterAksyon
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - Senator Loren Legarda is urging countries most vulnerable to climate change to shun fossil fuels in favor of renewable, non global warming energy production so that they can create jobs while helping to keep global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrialization age.

Legarda was one of the speakers at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Wednesday, during a consultation among senior representatives from the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Ministers of Finance, or V20.

The V20 is made up of 20 countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, including the Philippines. It was founded in Lima, Peru, in October 2015. Altogether, V20 member-states are home to one billion people.

"Our nations bear the brunt of climate change, even if we are the ones who contributed the least to the crisis," Legarda said. "We need not only survive, but also thrive."

This was why, she said, it was important to keep global temperature rise at no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

She stressed that going "green, sustainable, and resilient" was good not only for the environment, but also for health, business, and the economy.

"It will become cheaper, more practical, and more resilient in the short, medium, and long-term if you do the right thing by going the low-carbon economy pathway," Legarda said.

She claimed that low-emission power generation and renewable energy produced the greatest number of jobs per megawatt compared to the use of fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels were a poor choice, as these were mostly imported and tended to drain local financial resources to support employment abroad.

"This simply makes no economic sense when our countries have access to a great abundance of locally available clean energy resources. The wind is free. The rays of the sun can be harnessed. The ocean is there. We have lakes and rivers and seas. So much sources of hydro [energy]," Legarda said. "Why import something that's fluctuating in cost, dirty, and unreliable?"

She recalled having visited a remote barangay in El Nido, Palawan, last week, where she found a community that was living on less than four hours of electricity a day.

"How pitiful the life of a couple of hundreds of families who don't even have a minute of light a day," Legarda said. She explained that they had been reliant on diesel generator sets, which was why she and her team were now working to provide them and neighboring barangays with power derived from solar energy.