Makati readies to combat climate change

Pledges to become the region's first Energy Efficient City

Feature story - July 20, 2009
The local government of Makati City, the Philippines’ premier business district, today signed on to Greenpeace's "Simple Lang, Save the Climate" campaign in a bid to become the first Energy Efficient City in Southeast Asia. The Energy Efficient City project is an initiative that seeks to involve local governments and their citizens in reducing a city's carbon footprint as a way to help stop climate change.

Greenpeace SolarGeneration Pilipinas members carry a globe in a symbolic u-turn of the Earth from the devastations of climate change.

"Makati City's involvement in this project is a strong statement that we are strongly and clearly committed to take action to combat climate change, the most serious environmental threat facing our country and the world today.  Makati City is leading the way towards becoming Southeast Asia's first Energy Efficient City by pledging to implement city-wide measures that will promote energy efficiency in all sectors of society," said Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.

"Today, Makati City is helping push the world in the right direction to climate change solutions.  Southeast Asia, especially Philippines, is recognized by climate scientists as the 'most vulnerable and least prepared' to face the worst impacts of climate change.  Greenpeace applauds the country's financial capital in its efforts to deviate from business-as-usual and take the low carbon development path.  The national government should follow the lead of Makati City and set ambitious and effective policy measures for climate change mitigation," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez.

The pledge to become an Energy Efficient Makati City is merely the beginning of a longer engagement towards the city's goal for significant emissions reduction.  The project was launched today with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation with partner organizations including Makati Commercial Estate Association (MACEA), Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC), Ayala Foundation, and Ayala Land.  The project will run an extensive public awareness campaign and establish a multi-sectoral working group that will introduce energy efficiency measures in schools, hospitals, commercial establishments and businesses.  Among the first steps will be the development and implementation of Energy Efficient Building Guidelines which will be launched late this year.

In the past years, Makati, through Mayor Binay, has been actively pursuing environmental initiatives to help mitigate the effects of climate change.  Among these initative is the 'Palit Ilaw Caravan," (promoting energy efficient lighting) whose beneficiaries included public schools, markets, barangay halls, health centers, and sports and recreational facilities.  In 2007, Makati launched the E-Jeepneys with Greenpeace and Green Renewable Power Producers (GRIPP) as part of the Climate Friendly Cities Project.

According to Greenpeace, energy efficiency-or the smart use of energy by eliminating wastage-is one of the two big answers to the climate change problem, the other being renewable energy.  In the report "Energy Revolution" Greenpeace estimates that current global energy consumption can be reduced by two-thirds through efficiency.  Carbon emissions reductions through efficiency is substantial and can halve projected global energy demand by 2050.  Achieving efficiency, however, will be most effective through a collaborative approach which solicits the participation of public and private sectors as well as individuals.

The "Simple Lang, Save the Climate" campaign of Greenpeace, launched in 2007, responds to the need to implement energy efficiency solutions.  In April of the same year, the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identified that lifestyle changes and changes in consumption patterns that emphasize resource conservation can contribute to developing a low carbon economy, and that end use energy efficiency is cost-effective and has a positive effect on energy security, local and regional air pollution and employment.

"It is clear that the solutions to climate change are in our hands, readily available and merely waiting to be harnessed-whether on a national, local, sectoral, or individual level.  We "turn the Earth" through simple everyday acts that we do.  The "Simple Lang, Save the Climate" campaign enjoins all Filipinos to be part of the answer-starting with the will to make these solutions happen," said Greenpeace Energy Efficiency Campaigner Beng Reyes Ong.

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