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Environment, energy issues linked to pandemic

 

edt editorial

THE COVID-19 pandemic has caused many problems in our country, affecting not just the health sector but all other aspects of the national life. It affected the running of government, the operations of business and industry, and the lives of ordinary people of the country.

There was the problem of electric power charges in the first months of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) when consumers questioned their electric power bills, asking how the amounts were determined when actual readings of household electric meters could not be done because of he lockdown. One pro-consumer group raised the FIT-All rates – a uniform charge on all power users to help subsidize the production of clean but expensive renewable energy. It turned out that the FiT-All was a measly amount that has long been part of Meralco bills – amounting in one household to R50 of the R10,000 bill for 937 kilowatt-hours in June. But the Energy Regulatory Board ordered a refund of any FIT-All amounts, as well as a Universal Charge-Environment Charge (UC-EC) during the lockdown period.

Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan later announced it had found ways to lower its bills, including the reduction of systems loss, of transmission charges, and of Wholesale Electricity Spot Market prices. He said it will continue to find ways to further lower systems loss while improving its services.

With this matter arising from the ongoing pandemic and the resulting government restrictions out of the way, it may be time for the government to look into the basic issue of what caused the pandemic in the first place.

10CART

It is said to be connected somehow to the climate crisis – the rising of global temperatures, the failing of ecosystems, forcing animals away from their natural habitats, increasing their interaction with other animals as well as with humans over the years.

In the process, many viruses evolved, such as EBOLA, H1N1, and HIV-AIDS. Some scientific studies have said that the ongoing COVID-19 is linked with bats, which then infected cats and ferrets.

Along with our efforts to understand COVID-19 and stop its spread, we must invest in studies and actions to avert climate change. We need more investments in renewable energy and in other programs aimed at averting the destructive practices that are destroying the balance of nature and causing destructive changes in the natural world – changes that have given rise to viruses such as COVID-19 which is now ravaging the world.

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