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The Philippines is committed to reducing emissions not only of carbon dioxide but also other greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to global warming and climate change, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said measures are being undertaken by the government to tackle emissions of other GHG other than carbon dioxide, which had been the focus of anti-climate change efforts in the past.

“Given the situation and consistent with a science-based approach, the country had to look beyond carbon dioxide alone as the driver of global warming, and consider all the significant [GHGs] which include methane nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs, perfluorinated compounds or PFCs, and sulfur hexafluoride,” Leones said during the recently concluded First PMAP Foundation Summit on Clean Air and Climate Change.

Leones represented Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje to the event organized by the People Management Association of the Philippines, the country’s premier organization of human resource practitioners and people managers, held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City. The conference theme was “Clean Air: Our Life, Our Future.”

Paje is heading to the United Nations headquarters in New York later this month to represent the Philippines in the high-level signing ceremony for the historic U.N. climate change agreement adopted in Paris last December.

During the PMAP conference, Leones reported that aside from the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) the Philippines submitted to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in October last year, it also prepared its own Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

The INDC includes the intention of the Philippines to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030, while the NDC serves as a tool and roadmap by which the country’s intended commitments will be actualized.

The NDC covers the energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors. It aims to reduce carbon emissions through the use of electric vehicles, heat rate improvements in power plants, addressing GHG emissions from wastes, shift to natural refrigerants and promotion of “biochar” technology.

Leones said the government is also banking on the National Greening Program (NGP), the flagship reforestation program of the Aquino administration that aims to cover 1.5 million hectares with trees by the end of the year, to fight climate change.

The program has been extended to 2028 to cover the estimated 7.1 million remaining open and denuded forestland in the country, by virtue of an executive order issued by President Benigno Aquino III last year.

“The NGP is a key component of the country’s climate change mitigation and poverty-alleviation campaigns. Forests act as carbon sinks, while providing livelihood for the host communities. Forests capture carbon dioxide, and produce oxygen, and thus are also crucial to our quest for clean air,” Leones said.

In addition, Leones said the DENR had also pushed for the early implementation of Euro 4 fuel standards for new motor vehicles to June 2015 instead of January 2016, to lessen sulfur emissions. ###

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