THE PHILIPPINES is falling short of its Paris climate commitments, with coal-fired plants still attracting financing from major banks, the sustainability think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) said.

“There is a convergence of climate, energy security and affordability, and environmental imperatives that point to the urgency of ending our use of this dirty fuel — warnings of the rapidly closing window to keep the 1.5°C global warming goal alive, in particular, should have already been a wakeup call,” Gerry C. Arances, executive director of CEED, said in a message.

According to a report from Withdraw from Coal: End Fossil Fuels (WFC-ECC) Philippine banks funded coal and gas-fired power plants. The financing amounted to $867.08 million for the period April 2022 to March 2023.

The report identified the banks as Bank of the Philippine Islands, BDO Unibank, Inc., Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Security Bank Corp., Philippine National Bank, and China Bank Corp.

“Philippine banks that are still fueling coal with financing policies that sound good only on paper are making a game out of Filipinos’ climate survival,” Mr. Arances said.

“To date, the Philippines’ biggest banks are contributing to the unalignment of finance to climate initiatives by continuing to finance the coal industry. Worse, they have even begun to divert financing into the expansion of another fossil fuel — natural gas, better referred to as fossil gas,” the report said.

Coal-fired power plants still dominate the power generation mix at 57.5%, with natural gas accounting for 17.7% and renewable energy 23.4%.

According to a Climate Analytics report, a German non-profit, the Philippines must have an 80% share of renewable energy in its power mix by 2030 to become compliant with the Paris climate agreement.

The Paris Agreement binds signatories to take action in holding the increase of warming of global temperatures to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. Signatories have committed to action plans keeping warming at 1.5°C.

To limit global warming to about 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 and decline by around 43% by 2030. — Ashley Erika O. Jose