Press Release
April 24, 2009

Seeks to make renewable energy a mainstay in the public limelight

Senator Edgardo J. Angara today said that we need to make renewable energy a mainstay in the public limelight in order to harness its potential as a road to energy independence and as a way to combat climate change, this he said as Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) cites global warming as the culprit for erratic summer weather.

"The global economy is turning a green leaf with the emergence of clean-energy industries, with universities at its forefront. By 2014 futurist Dr. James Canton predicts that clean energy will be one of the biggest industries, with the market demand for wind energy reaching $48 billion, followed by solar at $40 billion, and fuel cells at $15 billion. This new economy continues to rise even amid economic downturn. Many governments have packaged a green economic stimulus, tying economic-recovery plans with promoting renewable energy (RE) and green jobs," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

He added, "It's no surprise then that more students in developed economies such as the United States have become more interested in renewable-energy science. Although official enrollment statistics have yet to be released, curriculums and programs offered by universities and colleges offer a potent indicator of the demand side of education. The University of Ohio has introduced masteral degree programs in RE. Others such as Stanford, Yale and the University of Michigan offer joint degrees through their business and environmental schools. In the University of Virginia, sustainability studies have been integrated into engineering, architecture, business and other disciplines."

Angara cited the case of Iceland - where almost 90 percent of the energy needs are sourced from renewables - which has a Renewable Energy School that offers graduate-level programs on renewable-energy science and advanced energy systems.

He said that by introducing environment-friendly curriculum and postgraduate studies in renewables, universities and colleges not only cater to the market demand for education, but also usher in the clean-energy industry. Courses in the environment complement a university's research programs in RE technologies. Possible research breakthroughs from these programs and a large talent pool of graduates keen on the environment often attract businesses. Graduates with green diplomas may even start their own eco-friendly businesses.

The senator added that universities and colleges in the developing world play a more crucial role in heralding the clean- energy era�they bear the challenge of making renewable-energy technologies more affordable and accessible, without the support sophisticated financial systems in developed economies provide.

According to an AC Nielsen survey in 2007, Filipinos with Internet access bested 47 countries in global-warming awareness. In the same year, Social Weather Stations revealed that 76 percent of the Filipino population believes that global warming should be addressed. The survey further disclosed that education strengthens the response to global warming, as respondents who have higher educational attainment were more responsible to urgent action even if it involves significant costs.

"We've got to harness this high interest into action, and one of the best ways to start is to empower universities. Let's include them in our overall national green agenda. Creating green campuses will translate the Filipinos' keen awareness of global warming into careers that will not only propel the country toward the clean-energy industry, but also promote a sustainable and progressive development," added Angara.

Angara also chairs the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) which is currently addressing RE policy concerns through legislative and policy proposal that can make renewable energy a mainstay in the public limelight, and garner support toward a cleaner, greener Philippines.

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