RP to ink climate-change pact with Austria

The Philippines and Austria will take a key concrete step to address climate change by signing this coming week a first-ever bilateral agreement on the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol.

A statement posted on the Web site of the Department of Foreign Affairs
(DFA) Saturday said the memorandum of understanding has been under negotiation between the two governments since 2006, and will be signed December 13.

“The DFA believes that the memorandum of understanding is highly relevant and timely, considering serious efforts of the Philippines and the international community to pursue the agenda of energy security and sustainable development,” the DFA statement said.

Signing for the Philippines will be environment secretary Jose Atienza Jr. Signing for Austria is Josef Pröll of the Federal Ministry of the Agriculture Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria.

The signing will take place at the sidelines of the ministerial meetings of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia.

Philippine ambassador to Vienna Linglingay Lacanlale said the agreement will facilitate partnerships between the Philippines and Austria on clear energy production, energy efficiency and environment projects in the country.

She said these will contribute to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Lacanlale said the agreement opens a window for Austrian capital, technology and expertise to participate in climate-change-mitigation projects in the Philippines.

These include the construction of combined heat-power systems and power plants using renewable energy sources, conversion of existing power systems using non-renewable fuels to systems that use renewable resources such as wind, hydropower and biomass, energy-efficiency upgrades in the industry, recovery of landfill gas and other waste-to-energy projects.

“There is a great potential for cooperation between our two countries in these areas, and I encourage all stakeholders to explore opportunities and get involved in CDM projects,” she said.

Last May, Cagayan Valley Industry and Energy Research and Development Consortium (CVIERDEC) and Energy Changes, an Austrian company specializing in the development of renewable energy and waste management, forged a pioneering initiative along this line.

The two parties agreed to work together in identifying and developing CDM projects in the region, including the utilization of biomass wastes, landfills to generate energy, biofuels, renewable energy (hydro-electric power, wind and solar energy) and energy efficiency.

CDM and Joint Implementation (JI), are market-oriented platforms by which country-signatories to Kyoto Protocol jointly undertake projects that have measurable impact on international efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The agreement, which entered into force in February 2005, binds 36 industrialized countries into commitments to reduce their carbon emissions levels by five percent below the 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol has 175 member-Parties, including developing countries, which have non-binding obligations to limit emissions. The ongoing meetings in Bali seek to establish a new agreement following its expiration in 2012.

According to the 2007 report of the Executive Board to the UNFCCC, the volume of CDM investments in the project pipeline as of 2006 has reached $25 billion. – GMANews.TV

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