Local Government of Quezon City
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Reducing the City’s Carbon Footprint

Quezon City is working to attain international benchmarks for ecologically compliant cities.  The World Bank included the city in the eco2 Cities (Ecological Cities as Economic Cities) Initiative, which promotes an environmentally conscious approach to development.

In 2008, Singapore Metropolitan Government recognized Quezon City’s best practices in responding to the environment challenges of urban development at the Inaugural East Asia Summit on Liveable Cities and the Forum on Clean Water.  The city has also participated actively in Eco2 seminars in Singapore, Washington, Geneva, and at the Climate Summit for the Financing of Sustainable Infrastructure for C40 cities in Basel, Switzerland and in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

To share with other cities of the world, Quezon City’s best practices, Mayor Herbert Bautista has been chosen as a panelist and resource person at the Berlin, Germany Expert Talks on Globalization in January 2011, and at the 2nd World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change and 2011 Forum on Resilient Cities organized by the ICLEI global association of sustainable cities last June 2011 in Bonn, Germany.

In February 2011, the Quezon City Government participated in the Intersessional Conference on Building Partnerships for Moving towards Zero Waste organized by the Ministry of Environment of Japan and the United Nations Center for Regional Development (UNCRD), where it presented before a global audience, its clean development mechanism based on biogas emission reduction from a landfill.

Quezon City has been regarded by the Philippines as the first Urban Center to comply with the country’s Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.  This law requires all local government units to implement the law on solid waste management, including compliance with the mandated 50% waste reduction target.

The city government has put in place a system that institutionalizes ecological solid waste management projects and waste diversion activities at various levels, from citywide, to community, to small stakeholder groups.

Carbon finance facilitates the financial reward through carbon credits for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by emitters in developing countries.  Through its biogas emission reduction program, Quezon City has been able to tap carbon finance as a new revenue source.  The city is one of the beneficiaries of the three-year Carbon Financing Capacity Building Programme (CFCB) in Emerging Cities of the South of the World Bank and ECOS (Ecology, Economy and Social Responsibility).  The programme aims to assist cities in industrialized and developing countries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the effects of climate change.

The local government has chosen as its CFCB project, Energy Efficiency from Streetlighting.  Streetlights constitute 64.88% of the city’s annual electric consumption with an average monthly billing of Php 26,881,241.46.  The aim is to establish baseline data on energy efficiency and emission reduction from the use of LED technologies

Complementary to the above initiative was the selection of Quezon City by the World Bank’s Energy Efficient Cities Initiative as the site in the Philippines, for the field testing of the Rapid Assessment Framework (RAF) project, under the ESMAP.  This project trains City building officials on the use of this assessment tool which helps cities quickly assess their energy efficiency performance, identify underperforming sectors, and define measures the city can take to make improvements.   The RAF allows cities all over the world to compare their respective energy efficiency profiles with other cities, and thus, be able to concentrate their efforts on specific areas which need improvement.

The continuing challenge to the city government is to balance the needs of urban development, with the just as important need for preserving and maintaining its green space.  While still endowed with the widest open spaces of Metro Manila, its fast-growing and mostly young population exerts tremendous pressure, even just for housing needs alone.  As of 2010, about 234,000 families are homeless.    The young population also presses the need for more schools and more opportunities for employment.   There is a vibrant real estate market in the city, and this has led to the rise of more subdivisions and condominiums, converting more open spaces into facilities that strain utilities and drainage systems, and contribute to traffic and pollution problems.  Informal settlements are also spread out, creating pockets of urban blight; most worrisome are the more than 26,000 families identified as residing in hovels in danger zones.

The city government has recently updated its Comprehensive Land Use Plan, adopting the modern trend towards balanced, mixed-use communities and recognizing the need to maintain environmentally protected zones especially around the city’s reservoir.  Implementing the plan in its entirety will be a test of political will, tempering the need to give in to business and housing demands, with the more sustainable need for an environmentally well-managed city.

It passed a Green Building Ordinance (SP-1917) in 2009, ahead of all other cities in the Philippines.   It prescribes standards for the design, construction and retrofitting of buildings in the city, in ways that would promote environmental health, reduce energy expenses, and reduce carbon emissions.    The city government also passed a Green Roof Ordinance (SP-1940, series of 2009), which requires all new buildings and housing construction in Quezon City, to devote at least 30% of their roof area to plants and trees.

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