Omnibus Intervention of SECRETARY TEODORO L. LOCSIN, JR. at the Plenary Session on Climate Action, Clean Energy Transformation, and Sustainable Infrastructure.

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ASEAN-U.S. Special Summit
State Department, Washington D.C.
13 May 2022, 1:30 – 2:30 pm

 

Madame Vice President Harris,
Prime Minister Hun Sen,
Climate Change Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry,
Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg,
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm,
USAID Administrator Samantha Power,

Excellencies,

Yesterday at the Special Summit Event with Business Leaders, Special Envoy John Kerry spoke eloquently –as he always does—on humanity’s collective failure to achieve its goals on the climate crisis.

Most nations have come up short of the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal and their Nationally Determined Contributions. The Paris Agreement pledge of funding to developing states remains largely a promise. But he offered hope, that if we work together — governments and the private sector — we will overcome this existential crisis. He added that climate initiatives are not losing propositions but rather make increasing good business sense; it will be the main business of the future.

Integral to our response to the climate crisis is the transition to clean energy.   The Philippines expects the ASEAN-US Energy Ministerial Meeting to advance initiatives on clean and alternative energy sources, including new and emerging clean fuels, and on energy innovation and more efficient energy technologies.

We are particularly interested in safe, clean, and affordable nuclear power options such as the small nuclear modular reactors, which are capable of being built and transported to far-flung energy starved areas.

The pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine laid bare the need to strengthen the resilience of ASEAN’s infrastructure, connectivity, and supply chains. I welcome the progress made on the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025; but it is far from enough. The infrastructural components need more focus on infrastructure compliant with environmental and climate standards yet are also commercially viable.

However, while we are committed earnestly to this new direction toward clean energy, we need to recover from the pandemic even as we are being hit by the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine — especially in energy supply. We have yet to develop domestic energy sources in safe, clean ways. But we need American assurance of being left in peace to find and develop — in clean new ways I cannot stress enough — our energy sources; but without threats from a bullying neighbor that sets conditions no sovereign country can submit to. Surrender on sovereign issues is never an option. At least one American energy company has shown interest. I say to it: reach out, our hands are outstretched to take yours in responsible partnership. Thank you.

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