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Tackling climate change

Tackling climate change(by Peter Beckingham via BusinessWorld)Global talks don’t have a great reputation for achievement. But the G-8

climate change talks in Italy broke new ground, and offer an opportunity to

prove the doubters wrong.The collective commitment by countries such as the United States, Japan,

and the UK to cut emissions by 80% by 2050, and work to avoid temperature

increases above two degrees centigrade, is important.But what now matters is that countries such as the United Kingdom and the

Philippines show that we mean it when we say we will cut our emissions.The Philippines is taking steps to tackle climate change, with no less than

the President herself assuming overall responsibility as chair of the

Presidential Task Force on Climate Change. In terms of legislation, the

Philippine Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008 supports the country’s goal of

60% energy self-sufficiency by 2010. The RE Act could open doors for the

country to capture part of more than US$70 billion investments in renewable

energy development world-wide by providing incentives to investors,

equipment manufacturers, and suppliers. The Department of Environment and

Natural Resources is also implementing an extensive campaign for a

low-carbon economy.I hope that there will be an opportunity for President Arroyo to discuss

these important developments when she visits London in September. The

governments of the Philippines and the United Kingdom have found common

ground in this area, as both countries are geographically vulnerable.

Although studies show that the effects of climate change will be felt most

in the poor and developing countries, developed countries will not be

immune. The mounting evidence world-wide is what drives the UK to push for

a strong global deal at Copenhagen this December.In combating climate change, we have already broken new ground ourselves in

the United Kingdom. We’re on track to save twice the greenhouse gases we

promised under Kyoto. We’ve tried to tackle some of the toughest

environmental dilemmas head on, such as coal — where we have proposed

conditions that will mean no new coal-fired power stations can be built

without capturing a substantial proportion of their emissions and locking

them permanently underground.We also like to think we’ve learnt from others who have found success —

such as the success in Germany helping people generate their own clean

power. Like them, we will start to pay guaranteed rates for households,

businesses, farms, and schools to feed unused clean power into the grid.But every country needs to step up its efforts to stay on track. So the

low-carbon transition plan of the UK government launched recently has

five-year limits on the country’s total emissions, set in law.This plan has at its heart a focus on new jobs and new business

opportunities, as well as increasing our energy security. We’re taking this

action now because we firmly believe that there’s an overriding economic

and financial imperative to cutting carbon. During a global downturn, it’s

this choice that will determine the path to economic prosperity and

sustainable development for all nations. It must therefore include a

massive increase in renewable energy, greener transport and a firm focus on

helping businesses make the most of low carbon opportunities.Britain has taken advantage of the demand for green projects, which opened

major opportunities for British businesses to create jobs in the new low

carbon economy. This has grown into a £3-trillion market employing nearly

900,000 people in the UK.Recently the UK government sponsored a trade mission to the Philippines and

flew in representatives of UK-based firms who are interested to invest in

the local renewable energy sector.Already there are a number of British companies here in the Philippines

involved in alternative energy. Global Green Power Plc. is setting up

plants in Panay, Nueva Ecija, and Pangasinan to convert biomass