The Philippines is currently revising its energy sector plan and extending its planning horizon to 2050 and can use this opportunity to further increase the focus on renewables. The country is set to overachieve its unconditional target while increasing emissions further without additional action, but its ambitious “1.5°C global least cost” compatible conditional target requires strong reductions far beyond current policies. The Philippines will need international support to meet this target and fully decarbonise its economy. We rate the Philippines mitigation targets and action “Insufficient” overall.
On the other hand, the Philippines’ fossil gas expansion plans, continued reliance on coal power and potential nuclear revival expose it to energy security and stranded asset risks, reduced resilience against climate change impacts, high power bills and a whole host of social and environment impacts.
Recent developments in the Philippines include:
- Plans to open at least three LNG terminals in 2023, with more in the pipeline, as the country seeks to shore up its fossil gas supply as its sole domestic field will be depleted in a few years. Fossil gas investments seem misplaced, considering the opportunity to focus on rapidly accelerating renewable energy as a cleaner, cheaper alternative that can support energy security.
- A major oil spill in February 2023 has wreaked havoc on its southwest coastline, and has increased awareness amongst local groups concerned that the country’s fossil gas expansion plans increase the risk of more destruction in the future.
- Launching of its second Green Energy Auction, which brings the combined total of auctioned renewables capacity to 13.6 GW or 52% of total electric capacity installed as of 2026, and should put the country on track for its current renewables targets. An additional auction is planned for later this year.
- Consideration of a 50% EV stock target by 2040 as part of its Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry (CREVI) currently under development.
The Philippines was the first country in the Southeast Asian region to set a moratorium on new coal, and is implementing several measures to support renewables. However, these actions will not halt emissions growth. The moratorium from 2020 allowed coal power plants that were in the pipeline at the time to move forward, which means that 2.6 GW of coal capacity will still come online by 2025. Coal will remain the dominant source of electricity generation for 2030 following current policy. The government needs to focus on accelerating the renewable energy future and implementing a coal and fossil gas phase out plan.
The CAT rates the Philippines’ climate targets and policies as “Insufficient”. The “Insufficient” rating indicates that the Philippines’ climate policies and commitments need substantial improvements to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. To get a better rating, the Philippines needs to improve its unconditional target and implement more stringent policies, with some international support.
We rate the Philippines’ current policies and action as “Insufficient” compared to its fair share contribution. The Philippines would need to implement additional policies to be 1.5°C compatible, and will need international support to do so.
Current policies and action, leading to 340-357 MtCO2e in 2030, fall far short of meeting its conditional NDC target (96 MtCO2e). The “Insufficient” rating indicates that the Philippines’ climate policies and action in 2030 need substantial improvements to be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. A further reduction of 24-27% is required to meet fair share obligations, and 64-66% reduction to be in line with a 1.5°C domestic pathway. If all countries were to follow the Philippines’ current policies and action approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
The Philippines’ Energy Plan (PEP 2020-2040) is carbon-intensive and relies on high levels of fossil gas imports and generation for the future energy mix. The coal moratorium is a positive step, but there is already a high level of coal in the current energy mix (57%, 14 GW) with a further 2.6 GW addition capacity exempt from the moratorium under the PEP.
The National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) 2020-2040 sets an aspirational target for a 35% renewable energy share in power generation by 2030, and 50% by 2040. The PEP 2020-2040 forecasts an up to 2240% increase in solar power generation from 2020 to 2030, a large increase due to the low current levels of generation (just 1 TWh in 2020).
Recent plans to expand the role of fossil gas in the system by building terminals to import LNG by early 2023 do not contribute to the country’s energy independence and would lock in large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure. This is a barrier to moving to zero emissions power generation.
The Philippines is one of the few developing countries that put forward an ambitious conditional target that is consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C when compared to least cost modelled domestic pathways and which we rate as “1.5°C global least cost” compatible. Due to the limited historical responsibility and capability of the Philippines, it will need substantial international support to be able to meet this target.
The Philippines’ unconditional NDC target is inconsistent with a 1.5°C pathway when compared to its fair share contribution. In order to achieve its fair share contribution to limiting warming to 1.5°C, the Philippines would need to reach absolute emissions of at or below 260 MtCO2e in 2030. Its unconditional target would therefore need to be at least 124 MtCO2e lower than it currently is.
We estimate the Philippines’ unconditional NDC target to be 384 MtCO2e by 2030 (excl. LULUCF), which we rate as “Insufficient”.
The “Insufficient” rating indicates that the Philippines’ unconditional NDC target needs substantial improvements to be consistent with the limiting warming to 1.5°C. The Philippines’ target is at the least stringent end of what would be a fair share of global effort, and is not consistent with the 1.5°C limit, unless other countries make much deeper reductions and comparably greater effort. If all countries were to follow the Philippines’ approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
The actual emissions and/or removal levels for the Philippine forestry sector are highly uncertain. Government data shows nearly zero emissions from the sector in 1994, but a net sink (removal of CO2 from the atmosphere) of 105 MtCO2/yr in 2000 and a sink of 37 MtCO2e by 2010. Recent government data shows a shrinking net sink, with estimates of -21.6 MtCO2/yr in the LULUCF sector for 2021. This sector is at risk of becoming a source of emissions with commodity-driven deforestation as the dominant driver of tree cover loss.
The Philippines does not have a net zero target.
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