The world’s population is expected to hit nine billion by 2050. The most populous countries in the world are Asian countries, some of which happen to have low income levels and face the worst air pollution.
The Philippines has been cited as one of Asia’s fast-growing economies. Over half of its energy mix come from natural gas, as well as renewable energy like geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind and biomass.
The country also ranks 7th on Asia’s most polluted countries. Studies suggest that severe air pollution contribute to respiratory and cardiac illnesses, and that there is “growing evidence of air pollution’s role in mental illness, adverse pregnancy outcomes, other cancers, abnormal child development, and more.”
In The Future of Energy Survey with 600 Filipino respondents, 66% answered that they are willing to spend more money on alternative sources of energy as a means of utilizing all energy sources. Solar energy is the most popular choice, with 74% choosing it over hydropower, wind, and natural gas. Only 23% prefer natural gas, the cleanest burning fossil fuel.
93% said it is important to reduce carbon emissions, which contribute to global warming. 73% of respondents cited that the government should play the biggest role in addressing the problems of the energy sector.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been pushing for the use of “cleaner” fuel, and the Philippines is home to many electronic and battery operated vehicles.
While these steps might add to the solutions being drafted to ensure energy security and improving air quality, many are still pushing to cap the use of coal in energy production.
Coal-fired power plants release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Clean coal technology is being utilized as a way to keep using one of the most abundant and cheap sources of energy. On the other hand, the previous Aquino administration has set the target of the 30-30-30-10 energy mix of coal, renewable energy, natural gas, and alternative energy, respectively. The new Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Alfonso Cusi is also reviewing the issues and solutions within the industry and will be prioritizing national electrification and lower electricity rates.