Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Detroit Refinery. Image by ddatch54/Flickr/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

THE GOVERNMENT intends to use a carbon tax, which is currently under study, to steer large emitters towards more sustainable operations, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said.

In a speech delivered on Dec. 14, the Department of Finance (DoF) said, Mr. Diokno described the department’s position on a carbon tax as “not waiting around for long-overdue commitments to materialize. We are moving ahead with reforms to quicken our shift to more sustainable practices.”

The DoF said in a statement that the carbon tax feasibility study is currently underway, with an eye towards deploying the revenue generated to fund sustainability projects.

The DoF added that the study was launched following the passage of House Bill No. 4102, or the proposed Single-Use Plastic (SUP) Bags Tax Act.

“The House of Representatives has approved a proposal to impose an excise tax on plastic bags. This will help regulate the consumption of single-use plastics as part of the Philippines’ contribution to reduce plastic pollution,” Mr. Diokno said.

According to the Senate website, the bill is currently pending in the Ways and Means committee.

Mr. Diokno announced the carbon tax study at the third plenary session of the Intervention for COP15 Finance Day, a gathering of finance ministers.

“As a developing country, the Philippines recognizes that healthy ecosystems underpin a green, resilient, and inclusive development. This vision requires massive finance flows and investment,” Mr. Diokno said in the conference.

In his speech, Mr. Diokno said finance ministers play a vital role in pushing for a green recovery.

Such ministers must “push for reforms that incentivize and finance the integration of biodiversity considerations into economic recovery and development,” he said.

COP15 is the 15th conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on biological diversity. It took place from Dec. 7 to 19 in Montreal. — Aaron Michael C. Sy