Urgent Need for Unity in Biomass Energy Use; (Speech Delivered on Nov. 5, 2007 at the 3rd Asia Biomass Seminar at Dusit Hotel Nikko, Makati City.)

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Byline: Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes

Good morning. I am very pleased to welcome all of you distinguished delegates from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos PDR, Brunei, Vietnam, and the Philippines to the 3rd Asia Biomass seminar.

Each of us here may have somewhat different perspectives but I know we all share a common goal of accelerating the utilization of renewable energy sources, in particular, biomass, in the ASEAN region.

Before beginning, I think we must all commend former Prime Minister Abe of Japan because he pioneered the cooperation initiatives for clean energy and sustainable growth through the promotion of Biomass Energy. I think we should all also express our profound thanks to the Institute of Energy Economics of Japan (IEEJ) as the main Implementer of this biomass energy seminar. On a personal note, I would like to thank our own staff from the Philippine Department of Energy who attended to the myriad administrative details involved in organizing an event like this. Thank you.

We are, of course, all aware that challenges concerning energy sources and supplies, especially in developing countries, are multi-dimensional. These challenges cover various aspects such as availability, accessibility, quantity, quality, efficiency, cost, and sustainability. These challenges all need to be dealt with effectively in order to achieve the broader development objectives of the millenium development goals for our respective countries. Those include preserving the environment, forging a global partnership for accelerated development, and eradicating extreme poverty.

It is obvious that we all need to formulate clear strategic directions with respect to developing clean, efficient, affordable, sufficient, and sustainable energy. In this context, I believe we are all cognizant of the intergovernmental negotiating committee for framework convention on climate change which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990 to address concerns on greenhouse gas emissions. I know that we are all aware that the Kyoto Protocol adopted by a consensus at the third session of the conference of Parties (COP3) took effect on February 16th 2005 when 55 countries who were responsible for 55% of the world's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions ratified the treaty.

The Philippines, as a developing country and a non-annex I state party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is fully committed to the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In this connection, the creation of the clean development mechanism, or CDM, is very welcome. As you all know, CDM is a flexible mechanism developed under the Kyoto protocol wherein a developed country can invest in various abatement projects in a host developing country and, in so doing, receive credits for the carbon emission reductions resulting from the project. The activities and projects eligible in the energy sector include renewable energy development, alternative fuels utilization, and energy efficiency improvements. These activities actually provide interesting investment opportunities For the future.

In the Philippines, the Department of Energy has been directed to be actively engaged in energy-related CDM projects. To date, our Department of Energy has endorsed ten projects under the CDM, and these projects include four biomass projects, one wind project, two waste treatment plant projects, two hydroelectric power plant projects, and one geothermal power plant project. The total greenhouse gas reduction for the ten projects has been estimated At 682,130 tons of CO2.

This greenhouse gas reduction may not now appear substantial, but we are gradually building momentum and we intend to maximize our potential for generating some of the resources needed to extensively develop clean and renewable energy sources in the country. …