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2th APEC Energy Ministers Meeting

13 October 2015
Senator Loren Legarda
Keynote Address
Secretary Zenaida Monsada,
Distinguished guests and delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning to all of you!
I am deeply honored for this opportunity to address the 12th Energy Ministerial Meeting.
APECs 21 member economies is home to about 2.8 billion people and account
for approximately 57 percent of the world GDP and close to 50 percent of world trade. It
is said that because of APECs hard work, growth has soared in the region, with real
GDP doubling from just USD 16 trillion in 1989 to USD 31 trillion in 2013.
The statistics of APEC build a solid caseAverage tariffs fell from 17 percent in
1989 to 5.2 per cent in 2012, and within that period the regions total trade increased
over seven timesoutpacing the rest of the world with two-thirds of this trade
occurring between member economies.
Consequently, per capita income rose by 45 percent, and as the adage goes,
millions were lifted out of poverty.
To what extent growth has been translated to equity and fair opportunities for all is
a different discussion altogether. But I will touch on that later.
The connection between free and open trade and investment and poverty
reduction, many would say, is indisputable with reduced trade barriers comes
increased trade and therefore, growth and prosperity comes not too far behind.

Let me hasten to add, however, that the sum of 1 + 1 is not always 2. Development
is indeed good; but development without conscience destroys the world. We end up with
zero.
Development and the choices we make, the enlightened choices, should not be a zero
sum game.
It is for this reason that I welcome the work of APEC in the energy sphere.
The theme of your meeting, Towards an Energy Resilient APEC Community,
resonates deeply and passionately in my own advocacy as the United Nations
Champion in Asia-Pacific for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.
So, when Sec. Monsada and the DOE family asked me to during a budget briefing to be
their speaker today, I did not think twice and I said, Of course, it will be my distinct
honor.
As an Asian, my resolve on the subject is deep and personal. Asia Pacific bears much
of the brunt of climate change, accounting for more than 80 percent of the global loss
of life due to disasters.
Why do I speak of climate change in an energy meeting? You might ask.
Energy security and climate security are two stories under the same plot.
There is strong scientific consensus that climate change is largely the consequence
of greenhouse gas emissions. And as you know, these emissions largely come from
human activities, including burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, transportation, and
even agriculture.
The Asian Development Bank projects that energy demand in Asia Pacific will
almost double by 2030. With development comes greater demand for energy. The AsiaPacific region is poised to have a 3.2 percent growth both in 2015 and 2016 from a
2.9 percent expansion in 2014.

Clearly, the sustainable development-energy nexus requires an urgent examination


of how the region can tap on the power of innovation and new technologies to provide
for the energy it needs in a sustainable and socially inclusive manner.
These are three issues that I wish to underscore today:
First, across Asia, 610 million are still without access to electricity;
Second, energy decisions have mainly been rooted on affordability and expediency as
primary considerations. ADB, in its 2013 Outlook Report, cites that by 2035, the majority
of the regions primary energy demand will still come from fossil fuels such as coal, oil
and natural gas;
Third, more than half of the global population live in cities. The ADB report poignantly
pictures the problemCities consume 78% of the worlds energy and contribute more
than 60% of all carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions, while covering less than 2%
of the earths surface.
We know all these issues, but solutions are sometimes hard to come by.
A great man once said, Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be
that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. I am referring, of course, to the late
great Nelson Mandela.
Ten years hence from the time he said that, we are still seeking for innovative solutions,
not just to the daunting problems of poverty, but to the looming threats of global
catastrophe brought about by climate change.
The First Energy Ministers Meeting was held in August in 1996 in Australia. It was
the year the Philippines first chaired APEC as well. And just on a sidenote, I recall that
was in Subic, I was a young journalist covering APEC for ABSCBN. As early as then,
Ministers already talked about the adoption of a strategic approach to reducing
environmental impacts of energy supply and use.
For this Meeting, I understand that you have identified four key very important themes
for discussion: 1) climate proofing energy infrastructure already mentioned by Sec.
Monsada; 2) improving energy trade and investment in APEC; 3) advancing cutting-

edge energy efficient technologies; and 4) promoting community-based clean energy


use in energy poverty stricken areas.
This event is an opportunity for all of us to address issues that need
immediate response, and propose strategies that will augment present initiatives of
APEC.
The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) headed by Doris Ho, the voice of APEC,
has been very forthcoming in its views on the regions sustainable energy agenda.
Energy security, it said, will increasingly depend upon the policies that support green
sustainable growth. I join ABAC in welcoming the APEC Leaders ambitious
commitment to double the share of renewables in power generation by 2030. Technical
innovation will contribute greatly in this endeavour.
It is time to achieve progress in these commitments.
Allow me now to briefly give you my humble views on the four themes of your meeting.
Climate Proofing
The energy infrastructure system receives the brunt of disaster impacts. This results
to disruptions in business and in the delivery of basic services.
Interconnecting systems is considered as one of the most critical features of the
energy sector. Natural hazards put the highly interdependent energy system at
risk. Disturbances in the energy system, in turn, upset our economic activities and
cause distress to other critical infrastructure sectors, like transportation, water supply,
communications.
We need to give focus on risks, as understanding our vulnerabilities supports decisionmaking in the context of climate change. And so we see here a marriage of disaster risk
reduction and climate change adaptation in planning and climate-proofing the energy
infrastructure.
The

approach

being

advanced

by

the

Philippines

is

the

incorporation

of

information parameters and benchmarking in carrying out vulnerability assessments

and emergency response planning. Our aim is to identify major energy networks that
may be compromised by natural hazards which abound.
I actually have authored three laws which are now being applied and implemented here
in the Philippinesthe Climate Change Act of 2009, which created the Commission on
Climate Change, chaired by no less than by Pres. Aquino, the Philippine Disaster Risk
Reduction and Management Law which created NDRRMC which is tasked in preparing
the Philippines for the 20 or more natural hazards which come to our shores, and the
Renewable Energy Law which is being implemented by the Department of Energy.
Our experiences with Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, whose intensity is unmatched in
recent history, gives us crucial lessons. The total damage to the electricity sector then
was US$ 155 million. The distribution utilities were the hardest hit, which accounted for
76 percent of the total damage to the energy sector, causing disruptions in electric
supply to residential consumers and even public buildings.
This underscores the importance of building adaptability to the energy sector.
Climate proofing, energy infrastructure has become a basic necessity. APEC and its
member economies need to cooperate with the private sector, including ABAC, towards
fostering public-private partnerships that will encourage the adoption of appropriate
templates or standards for critical energy infrastructure.
Second, Improving Energy Trade and Investments in APEC
The Asia Pacific region, according to ADB, requires between $7 trillion and $9.7
trillion in the energy sector from 2005 to 2030.
Creating a fiscal space for investments in climate resilient infrastructure, by
providing easier access to markets, to finance, and innovationthese are crucial.
Energy trade and investment, can be affected by barriers which creates obstacles to
fair competition. These come in the form of quotas, of export subsidies, procedural
hurdles, local content requirements, just to name a few.

They can also come in the form of behind-the-border barriers such as


poorly functioning financial markets, weak legal systems, restrictive regulatory
approaches, among others.
Bottlenecks also come in the form of inadequate infrastructure, power grids, road
and port facilities; but one of the biggest hurdle comes in the form of regulatory
overreach. These bottlenecks lay the predicate for a status quo with economies
continuing to embrace technologies that are easily accessible and even cheaper, but
very harmful to our environment.
Business environments need to adhere to the Rule of Lawconsidering that
businesses will not only be willing to invest in an economic space that provides
predictability, transparency, and fairness.
Investments in resilient energy infrastructure generate sustained economic and
social benefits and deserve the highest priority for policy makers.
Third, Advancing Cutting-Edge Energy Efficient Technologies
We live in a world with finite resources and yet generations have lived over the centuries
like there is no tomorrow. Our natural environment has been compromised. We all need
to acknowledge and embrace this sorry and sad reality.
It does not mean, however, that we can just stand idly by to witness the
continuing decline of our environment.
New, cutting-edge energy efficient technologies are within our reach. I am
therefore encouraged by APECs commitment to reduce aggregate energy intensity by
45% by 2030 from 2005 levels. And wider use of energy-saving equipment and
technical innovation will contribute greatly in this endeavor.
We need to heed the private sectors call for governments to take decisive action
on environmental services, including further identification and elimination of nontariff barriers to environmental goods and services and support for the development of
low-carbon and renewable energy technologies.

Many APEC economies will continue to generate power, using fossil fuel, including the
very harmful coal. It is imperative that the best available technology be deployed.
Diversification of energy sources will promote disaster resilience.
Investments

in

sophisticated

sustainable

energy

technologies

augur

well

in

reducing harmful emissions, protecting health and the environment, and sustaining still
economic growth.
APEC economies need to work with the private sector to develop clean and energyefficient, climate-friendly technologies and I, therefore, welcome ABACs initiatives
that seek to build a culture of technological innovation in our economies.
Fourth: Promising or Promoting Community-Based Clean Energy Use in Energy Poverty
Stricken Areas
The final theme touches the very core of the APEC 2015 themeBuilding
Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World. It cant be better said.
Growth is difficult to imagine without energy; and energy that does not take
into consideration the needs of future generations, can only destroy and not build.
This brings me to my final point I made at the onset. Developmentsustainable and
inclusive development, progress, and the quality of life cannot be the exclusive domain
of a few. Open trade brings immense opportunities, but unless fair opportunities are
shared with all, the prosperity that APEC aims to deliver becomes an empty promise
that will stop, begin, end, and stop in halls like this.
Energy drives economic growth and yet 1.1 billion, globally, have no access
to electricity. Asia accounts for 615 million.
I, therefore, welcome APECs initiatives that will provide energy access to
everyone, including those in the most remote and backward communities. Clean fuel
and renewable energy: they need to be harnessed, and development of micro grids has
to be pursued in addressing energy access challenges.
Inclusive growth begins with making basic services available to all. Fostering
the participation of micro-, small, and medium enterprises (Im sure Doris shares this

with me because her focus is not simply big businesses in APEC and ABAC, but
specially SMEs). So, the MSMEs in the regional and global markets, much less in the
domestic supply chain, will not happen unless energy access is guaranteed to everyone.
Off grid and last mile communities need to enjoy the benefits of APEC as much as
everyone else in urban areas.
With the onset of technological innovation in energy, achieving universal access to clean
energy technologies is within the reach of communities in APEC.
In the Philippines, for example, estimates indicate that, and this is not based on
Philippines studies but based on US studies, we actually have more than 240, 000 (in
fact, to be exact, 246, 000) megawatts of untapped, unharnessed, renewable energy
capacity. This is thirteen times more than our current installed capacity. I couldnt believe
when I read this research by the US. Failure to develop these capacities would be
unforgivable. So, in short, with our 16, 000 megawatts installed capacity, we actually
have over than 200, 000, but of course, this includes ocean energy, etc. So, we simply
want to focus more on R&D so we can harness the untapped potential. And even if it
may seem a utopia, the hundred million Filipinos can actually eventually find a world
where the energy mix is not just 30% coming from RE, but perhaps, we can be an RE
nation. Again, theyll say, There she goes again in her utopian mind. But really, the
scientists will not disagree. If you have 246, 000 untapped, unharnessed RE potential in
such a wealthy nation, why not? And thats a reason why I will increase the budget of
the DOE because of this in the renewable energy portfolio.
APEC needs to focus on promoting the growth of low-carbon economies as a means
to create jobs and curb carbon emissions. APEC cannot afford to take half baby steps in
its efforts to deliver clean energy to poverty-stricken areas. APEC economies account
for 55 percent of global energy production, but accounts for 60 percent of total energy
consumption. Clearly, new and cleaner energy options need to be developed.
In closing, I wish to acknowledge the role of APEC as a very important global platform
that can bring together all the 21 economies in finding sustainable and durable solutions
to the regions energy needs. I urge closer public-private engagements and dialogues.
Ministers, Your Excellencies, we can no longer address the sustainable developmentenergy nexus on an ad-hoc basis. We cannot be business as usual or APEC or ABAC

as usual. The world is in an ICU situationwe are in the emergency department or in


an intensive care unit.
Barely 2 months from now, the world will see one of the biggest gatherings of
representatives of government, of intergovernmental organizations, of international
agencies, NGOs and POs, civil society and world leaders in Paris by end of November
and first week in December towards in achieving a universal, ambitious climate
agreement.
As a body that operates on consensus, it might be too much to ask for APEC to lend
its voice that would call for positive actions from the Conference of Parties to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. But why not? It is worth
making the appeal, however, considering the immeasurable cost of doing nothing and
saying nothing.
On that note, I thank all of you for bearing with me and listening intently. Mabuhay.
Thank you.