Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga has urged the private sector to take up a greater role in the fight against climate change amid growing climate uncertainties and mounting financial requirements for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Speaking at the Climate Investment Forum (CIF) 2022 held in Quezon City on Nov. 21, Loyzaga said the private sector could close the gap in climate finance by investing in more sustainable projects that help reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

Loyzaga noted that the government has allocated a total of P453.11 billion for the implementation of climate change programs and projects next year. The amount, she said, represents about 8.6 percent of the P5.268-trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2023.

“However, more investments are still needed if we are to make transformative strides to achieve climate-resilient development,” Loyzaga stressed.

She pointed out that both public and private sectors have “a critical opportunity” to invest in resilience which is “vital not just to our country’s development, but to our planet’s very survival.”

Out of the P453.11 billion in public sector climate funding for 2023, around 75 percent or P338.21 billion will be spent for climate adaptation, which includes programs for the development of resilient crops and livestock production systems and technologies.

The remaining 25 percent or P114.9 billion will be used for climate mitigation consisting mainly of promotion of renewable energy and improvement of traffic infrastructure-mobility to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The 2023 NEP carries the highest allocation for climate expenditures by far, accounting for a significant increase of about 56 percent from this year’s climate budget of P289.73 billion.

The CIF 2022, which carries the theme, “Turning Climate Commitments to Action,” gathered senior government officials, climate international experts and members of the business community to discuss how climate-friendly enterprises can further engage the private sector to invest in priority climate enterprises that contribute to global efforts to slash GHG emissions.

Loyzaga’s call for greater private sector involvement in climate change fight came on the heels of her recent participation as head of the Philippine delegation to the recently concluded COP27 or the 27th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt, where the private sector, according to her, was “extremely active” and “heavily represented.”

“Groups like Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the UN sustainable energy team, working together, had the Philippines to be one of the three countries that will now apply a method of calculating the cost of energy transition to net-zero by 2050,” Loyzaga said.

According to the environment chief, the private sector has “emerged as a critical actor in bridging the cost of transitions towards non fossil-based sources of power which is estimated to be in the trillions for some countries and sectors.” ###