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Groups welcome ADB support for Duterte clean energy transition

MANILA, 8 June 2016 — Civil society groups welcomed today the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) pledge of support for the incoming Duterte administration’s statements supporting clean energy, making it the first major financing institution to do so.

“ADB is fully supportive of the COP21 [Paris climate talks] outcomes,” said Richard Bolt, ADB’s country director for the Philippines, at the sidelines of the 11th Asia Clean Energy Forum. “We are fully supportive of the country’s clean energy ambitions.”

Bolt reacted to a rally demanding the bank to respond to the review of the Philippine energy pathway, consistent with the 1.5℃ global warming limit referenced in the Paris climate talks as well as with global energy trends.

The bank’s statement comes in the wake of news about global coal giant Peabody filing for bankruptcy last April, and last year’s record US$286 billion investment in renewable energy worldwide, mostly in Asia.

“The Duterte administration’s goal to transition early to clean energy deserves full support from the international investment community. We applaud ADB’s positive response and hope they will follow through,” said Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of ICSC. “They will find ready partners in incoming NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia and Department of Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez. It feels like change is coming.”

“We need to revisit those [coal-fired power plant] projects and I think we probably should not push too many coal-fired plants because they are bad especially for communities where power plants are built,” Pernia stated last June 2, as quoted by Reuters. “We are supposed to gradually, in due time, move toward more renewable energy.”

“The Duterte Administration agrees with the eventual phase out of coal power plants and other plants that use harmful fuels and steer the country for more investments in [renewable energy]. The timeframe of the phase out will be determined by the speed RE sources can replace coal,” Duterte stated in response to the Green Thumb Coalition survey late last April.

Civil society groups which organized the rally reiterated their call for the ADB to stop coal financing.

“The legacy of ADB in financing dirty energy is unquestionable,” said Glenn Ymata, the energy transformation officer of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice. “We are prepared to take direct actions against the bank if their support for clean energy turns out to be rhetorical.”

“ADB needs to be watched. Despite its commitment to the Paris outcome, its president is still encouraging the Disneyland notion of clean coal in Asia,” added Gerry Arances, convenor of Center for Energy, Ecology and Development.

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The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities is a policy group promoting low-carbon development initiatives in vulnerable countries.

CONTACTS:
Red Constantino, executive director, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities: +63917 524 1123, red@ejeepney.org
Chris Morris, NGO and Civil Society Center unit head, Asian Development Bank: +632 632 6343, cmorris@adb.org

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