MANILA, Philippines, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino III called for boosting renewable energy to tackle climate change.
Speaking at the first Philippine BioEnergy Conference Thursday, Aquino highlighted his government's efforts to improve the renewable energy sector and urged "the rest of the world would join us in proactively responding to what is perhaps the most pressing challenge of our age," GMA News Online reports.
Nearly 39 percent of the Philippines' energy requirements are derived from renewable sources such as hydropower, geothermal, solar, wind and biomass, Aquino said, noting the government projects biomass to increase from 39 megawatts of energy in 2010 to more than 300 megawatts by 2015.
Biomass is energy derived from garbage, wood, waste, landfill gases and alcohol fuels.
In June the Energy Department launched the National Renewable Energy Program aimed at tripling the country's renewable energy-based capacity by 2030.
"With more emphasis on renewable energy resources, we can even make our own small contribution to addressing the massive problem that is climate change," the president said.
The Philippines has nine coconut biodiesel plants operating in the country with a production capacity of more than 103 million gallons.
Aside from revitalizing the country's ailing coconut industry, the plants are capable of producing about 60 percent above the country's needs, thus providing a source for the increasing global demand for biodiesel fuel, he said.
By increasing biomass energy, the Philippines could generate about 89,000 jobs, Aquino said.
"Exploring alternative energy options is a noble endeavor. Our country believes that it can also be economically viable and can contribute to the alleviation (of poverty) especially in our rural areas," he said.
Separately, the Philippine government said Wednesday it would consider fuel rationing if the situation in Iran worsens.
Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most vital oil routes, if Western countries impose sanctions on its oil exports.
"Let me emphasize that the Department of Energy did not categorically state that we will start rationing oil," Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua quoted presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda as saying. "It is only one of the many contingency plans that we are doing but we will be doing in the event that events worsen in Strait of Hormuz."
The Philippines consumes about 300,000 barrels of oil a day, with 80 percent of the country's oil needs coming from the Middle East.