Evaluating the Philippine Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2021

This article is a contribution from ASEP-CELLs.

Two years after the Philippines officially transmitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and officially committed the country to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 70% by 2030 — relative to its usual Business As Usual (BAU) scenario of 2020-2030 — the Duterte administration decided to revisit the parameters of the INDC and reformulate its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The government argued that there was no basis to quantify the equivalent of 70% as the BAU scenario. Furthermore, the target was considered too “ambitious” primarily because the contribution of the Philippines to the global carbon footprint is negligible. The country now commits to a projected GHG emission reduction and avoidance of 75% referenced against a projected BAU cumulative emission of 3,340.3 MtCO2e for the period 2020-2030.

In order to meet this commitment cumulative GHG emissions for the period, 2020-2030 have to be limited to approximately 835 MtCO2e. The clean energy scenario reported in the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) shows a cumulative emission of 2,113 MtCO2e—combining both energy and transport— for the same period.

This is only 36.7% lower than the assumed BAU of 3,340.3 MtCO2e and above the 835 MtCO2e threshold, implying that even if the other sectors have zero GHG emissions during this period it would not be possible to achieve either an NDC of 70% or 75%.

Against this background, the research evaluates the original and current INDC/NDC and explains why the Philippines will have difficulty complying with an “ambitious” NDC. The paper suggests that if the Philippine Government cannot adjust the NDC, it can improve prospects of compliance by considering a) the post-pandemic trend in GHG emissions; b) an expanded policy space that covers all sources of GHG emissions particularly the agriculture sector; and c) a more aggressive Clean Energy Scenario.

The research study was conducted by Dr. Josef T. Yap, Senior Technical Advisor of the Access to Sustainable Energy Programme – Clean Energy Living Laboratories (ASEP-CELLs) Project. The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Ateneo School of Government in partnership with Manila Observatory, ICLEI-SEAS, Xavier University and University of San Carlos (USC).

The project supports the Department of Energy in achieving 100% rural electrification through renewable energy, thus increasing the share of renewable energy in the Philippines’ energy mix, and promoting energy efficiency towards sustainable and inclusive growth.

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