January 4-10, 2021

Jeepney modernization: Road paved with difficulties, debt, danger
By Mikael Angelo S. Francisco
Even before COVID-19, jeepney driver Ernie Cruz had already been preparing to navigate a bumpy ride ahead of him: the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP), or the jeepney modernization program. This national initiative aims to bring harmful vehicular emissions in the Philippines to a screeching halt by phasing out units with outdated engines.
‘Consumers worry about food safety’
Safety concerns surrounding Covid-19 have accelerated consumers’ worries about factors that impact overall health, most notably food safety and the environment, according to a global research study released by Tetra Pak.
OK of law seeking fiscal rules for mining sought
By Jovee Marie de la Cruz
With a digital economy increasing demand for electronics, the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means is pushing for the immediate approval of House Bill (HB) 6135 or the Fiscal Regime for the Mining Industry.
This company is making building tiles out of polluted air
By Isabelle Gerretsen
India has the world's worst air pollution. Home to 21 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, its toxic air kills more than one million people each year. That's partly because the South Asian nation is the world's second largest brick producer. Brick kilns -- which account for 20% of black carbon emissions globally -- make a significant contribution to its terrible air.
Living Planet: Environmental activists face online abuse
In recent years the internet has been crucial in organizing climate activism. Movements like Fridays for Future have utilized social media to spread awareness about climate change and connect across the world. But from the Philippines to Brazil to Germany, activists are reporting increased online abuse. So what impact is this online harassment having on their work, and on them personally?
For the first time, Quezon City, Philippines among 88 cities recognised for climate leadership by CDP
Global environmental non-profit CDP announces the 88 global cities that continue to lead on environmental action and transparency during 2020, despite the pressures of tackling Covid-19. 14 cities on the list are in the Asia Pacific region, with Quezon City receiving an A score for the first time.
Gov’t issues IRR on regulatory relief to private projects under Bayanihan 2
By Ted Cordero
The government has issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the identification of private sector projects that will qualify for regulatory relief under certain conditions in the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2. In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu signed the IRR.
Creation of a Department of Climate Change pushed
By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay”  Villafuerte Jr. has sought the creation of a Department of Climate Change that would work all-year-round to build the country’s capacity to manage climate change, keenly monitor and assess climate change policies and activities, and put in place effective mechanisms even before disasters occur.
Fashion industry, it’s time to take the animals out of the closet and let them run free
By John Legaspi
For its January issue, fashion magazine Vogue Italia celebrates the beauty of the animal kingdom on its seven covers. Through the lens of an esteemed photographer, the creatures, from the menacing felines of the wild and the busiest colony of bees to the tame and delicate canine, lamb, and ostrich, are presented in their natural habitats the form in artworks or in a beautified studio shoot to raise awareness on a decades-long initiative. 
Pangilinan touts alternatives to single-use plastics
By Vanne Elaine Terrazo
Senator Francis Pangilinan on Thursday appealed to local manufacturers to start being “green” this year and produce alternatives to single-use plastics. Pangilinan said manufacturers in the Philippines should take the cue from consumer giants that have already switched to plant-based plastics that can break down within a shorter period
2021 seen as a year to make up lost ground on climate change
By Brian Roewe
From national economies to personal lives, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 placed much of the world on pause. But one thing didn't stop: climate change. While global emissions declined an estimated 7% because of halts in activity that were related to COVID-19 restrictions, climate scientists project 2020 will rank among the two hottest years on record, and possibly top the list. Add to that a historic hurricane season in the Atlantic, Arctic sea ice hitting a near-record low and record-breaking wildfires in Australia, California and Siberia.
DENR to provide local governments with shredders, composters
By Jhesset Enano
To help them comply with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) plans to provide all local governments within the Manila Bay area with shredding and composting machines which will process biodegradable wastes from dumps and landfills.
Globe sets up over 100 e-waste collection points nationwide
As part of its environmental protection advocacy, Globe has set up over 100 collection points nationwide for electronic waste (e-waste) to encourage everyone to practice proper disposal of electronic or battery-operated devices and IT accessories and peripherals which are no longer working or wanted.
Light at the end of the tunnel
By Gil Yuzon
My daughter Celine recently posted a cute video of her 3-year-old grandson Arthur on Viber diligently washing his hands while singing “Happy birthday to you,” in an imitation of CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta demonstrating how often and how long to wash our hands as a defense against the coronavirus. It occurred to me that this simple ritual is actually a very basic example of man’s persistent hope and effort to survive.
2020 full year inflation settles below midpoint of gov't target
Despite upside risks, the Philippines’ full-year inflation rate for 2020 settled below the midpoint of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) target range for the year, the National Economic and Development Authority said. The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that in December 2020, the country’s headline inflation rate accelerated to 3.5 percent, coming from 3.3 percent in November 2020 and 2.5 percent in December 2019.
Environment Groups launch activities for Zero Waste Month
Philippine environment groups belonging to the About BFFP movement launched their activities at the opening of the celebration of the National Zero Waste Month. The Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) is a global movement working towards a future free from plastic pollution. In a webinar held last January 5 titled “Ang Tira, Gawing Bongga!”, Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner of Ecowaste Coalition, said that the whole country generates over 40,000 tons of garbage per day not to mention the pile-up of disposable face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
SC junks writ of kalikasan petition vs Bulacan airport
By Aika Rey
The Supreme Court dismisses a plea asking for environmental protection of the airport site in Bulacan. The Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the writ of kalikasan plea filed by fisherfolk and environmental groups against the construction of the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan, a project of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
[Opinion] Why should the construction of Kaliwa Dam be stopped?
By Liezle Precious Roldan Estrada
The tragedy brought about by super typhoons rampaging our country highlighted the importance of a fully operational sewerage system and the crucial role of the Sierra Madre. Dams, watersheds, or any other large body of water need to be managed well to avoid flooding nearby towns.
Over 1.4 billion people exposed to significant flood risk; PH ranks 8th
By Ludwig O. Federigan
Over 1.4 billion people are directly exposed to significant flood risk, according to the policy research working paper released by the World Bank recently. All are directly exposed to flood depths of over 0.15 meter, which pose a significant risk to lives, especially of vulnerable populations.
Masungi foundation, tribal leaders trade barbs
By Eireene Jairee Gomez
The Masungi Georeserve Foundation is standing firm on its conviction that it is dedicated to the conservation of the rich biodiversity in the area, following charges filed by the Dumagat tribe of Rizal province alleging the foundation intruded a portion of their ancestral land.
PH starts to tiptoe away from coal
By Ben Kritz
One of the few — very few — legitimately praiseworthy policy orientations of the Duterte administration has been its cognizance that the environment is a thing, and that climate-change impact mitigation ought to be actively pursued, so far as the country’s capabilities allow. This has been a refreshing change from the administrations of Gloria Arroyo, who, notwithstanding a couple of positive moves such as the Solid Waste Act and Clean Air Act, was largely ambivalent toward environmental concerns; and Noynoy Aquino, whose policies were, if anything, hostile to the environment.
Duterte signs law amending 2010 Organic Agriculture Act
By Catherine S. Valente
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure seeking to strengthen organic agriculture in the Philippines. Republic Act (RA) 11511, an amendment to RA 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, seeks to beef up the national organic agricultural program and promote the consumption of organic products by launching a nationwide educational awareness campaign for consumers.
Gatchalian pushes establishment of natural gas terminals
By Javier Joe Ismael
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has set in motion deliberations in the Senate on a measure that seeks to further develop the natural gas industry. Gatchalian said there has to be a replacement for the Malampaya gas project before its supply runs out to avert possible rotational brownouts in 2022.
Climate change worse than pandemic
By Elfren S. Cruz
It seems that humankind is the victim of unnecessary catastrophes and the world is doomed to continuing this in the future. People like Bill Gates have been warning us about the possibility of pandemics during the last few years. When the epidemic started in China, it was kept a secret and most countries did not take the necessary preventive steps until the crisis worsened.
Minding our mines
By Andrew J. Masinag
Economic think tanks around the world are in agreement that the Philippines will post one of the highest economic contractions in 2020 followed by a slow recovery in 2021. Japanese investment bank Nomura was one of the last to publish its forecast. According to the Tokyo-based financial giant, the Philippine economy will likely contract by 9.8 percent this year followed by a 6.8 percent growth in 2021, lower than government’s projection of 7.5 percent growth. At this rate, the economy will only approximate 2019 levels by the second half of 2022.
Coal to remain King in Philippines’ energy mix despite ban – Fitch unit
By Ian Nicolas Cigaral
Coal will remain the Philippines' top power source over the coming decade despite a recent government ban on coal-powered generators, the impact of which will likely be felt only on a much longer term, a Fitch unit said. In a research note sent to reporters on Monday, Fitch Solutions expects the Philippines to continue its dependence on coal in the next years, saying it is still the most practical means to generate affordable electricity needed to support the country's growing economy. 
Ecosystem destruction fueled the pandemic. Pollution has made it worse
By Leanna First-Arai
On December 30, 2019, an urgent email circulated on the internet, in which the Wuhan Municipal Health Committee noted the treatment of multiple patients with “pneumonia of unknown cause.” Since then, researchers have identified antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in blood and spit samples in the United States, France and Italy, suggesting human exposure to the virus may have occurred well before that first cluster in Wuhan, China. Scientists have a long road ahead in pinpointing the exact conditions under which COVID-19 originated. But the job is underway.
Reviewing the horrid global 2020 wildfire season
By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
The 2020 global wildfire season brought extreme fire activity to the western U.S., Australia, the Arctic, and Brazil, making it the fifth most expensive year for wildfire losses on record. The year began with an unprecedented fire event in Australia, where wildfire smoke in the capital city of Canberra registered the worst air quality readings in the world on January 1. The Canberra Times reported that smoke billowing through the city exceeded the “hazardous” threshold by over a factor of 20.
CCC in the News
CCC on financing the Earth’s assets: support sustainable finance based on natural wealth
A report titled, “Financing the Earth’s Assets: The Case for Mangroves as a Nature-based Climate Solution” reveals that regeneration of mangrove forests around the world could result in an $11.8 billion return by 2040 if carbon markets reflected the true value of nature.
Climate change commission adopts nature-based solutions
By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Climate Change Commission (CCC) has welcomed the findings of the London-based Earth Security Group’s report, which emphasized nature-based solutions in the fight against climate change. 
CCC on financing the Earth’s assets: support sustainable finance based on natural wealth
A report titled, “Financing the Earth’s Assets: The Case for Mangroves as a Nature-based Climate Solution” reveals that regeneration of mangrove forests around the world could result in an $11.8 billion return by 2040 if carbon markets reflected the true value of nature.
Support sustainable nature-based investment funds – CCC
By Ma Alaine P. Allanigue
The Climate Change Commission (CCC) today cited a report titled, “Financing the Earth’s Assets: The Case for Mangroves as a Nature-based Climate Solution” revealing that regeneration of mangrove forests around the world could result in an $11.8 billion return by 2040 if carbon markets reflected the true value of nature