Groups lambast forum on coal sponsored by DOE
Environmental activists held a rally on Tuesday, right outside the New World Hotel in Makati to condemn the ongoing Coal Policy and Business Forum.
“We condemn this gathering of disaster designers as it considers coal as an essential part in the development of the country. There is no space for coal in the energy industry now and in the future,” says Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).
“What is more unforgivable is that after retreating from the fiasco of emergency powers, the government, especially the Department of Energy (DOE) has supported this event,” added Arances.
In the original program of the forum, DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla was designated to be the keynote.
The forum aims to gather operators of power plants and other industrial heavy users of coal, coal producers or suppliers, policymakers, legal and tax experts, investors and stakeholders to discuss the role of coal in the energy industry.
Leverage International, a consultancy company for foreign investors, organized the forum in collaboration with the Department of Energy (DOE) along with the ASEAN Forum on Coal (AFOC), the Philippine Chamber of Coal Mines (PHILCOAL), and the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA).
In the UN Climate Summit held in New York on September this year, President Aquino boasted that the Philippines is now treading a climate-smart development pathway and that it continues to take steps to maintain and even improve its low-emission development strategy and the trajectory of the energy mix of the country.
“By taking part in this forum, this administration is showing its unwavering support for climate change-drivers such as coal and other dirty-energy projects. This is contradictory to what the President claims in international forums,” says Pastora Diana Morales of Coal-Free Bataan Movement.
Under this administration, at least 26 coal-fired power plants across the country with approximately 9,000 MW generating capacity has been approved. Coal power plants are expected to dominate the energy mix of the country by providing 70% of the electricity generation by 2035.
Morales adds, “Behind the closed doors of forums like this, communities like ours continue to suffer the negative effects of coal. Our lives and our future is at stake but the government continues to push for projects which will cause our death!”
Bataan hosts two coal-fired power plants, with an additional power plant being constructed. According to the Clean Air Task Force report , coal kills about 400,000 people annually.
“We reject this forum because continued investment in coal will put additional burden upon the people. Coal will become more expensive based on market signals, especially as more countries pledge to phase out coal and increase the renewable energy (RE) share in their electricity mix,” says Kathryn Leuch, Energy Campaigner of PMCJ.
Only recently, China announced its target to increase the share of non-fossil fuels energy to 20% by 2030. Furthermore, China’s demand for coal is expected to peak by 2020.
Furthermore, burning of coal accounts for the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
Leuch adds, “Coal is a climate buster. It has no space in our world if we want to limit global mean temperature rise to 2 degrees. With our experience with the Typhoon Yolanda, unless we limit our emissions, stronger typhoons will happen and more Filipinos will be condemned to death.”
Yesterday at the forum, Energy Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada said that the DOE is aiming to award to private sector investors the areas for coal exploration and development under the Philippine Energy Contracting Round 5 by December 18.
“The government needs to focus to achieve its original target of 50% RE in the electricity mix as stipulated in its original National RE Plan (NREP). It must lay the basis for more funds for RE and not waste its time giving more impetus to a killer and dirty industry such as coal. The government has no business taking part in a forum that brings death to its people and the climate,” concludes Arances.
November 18, 2014
Kathryn Leuch| PMCJ Energy Campaigner| 0936 967 8341| email@example.com
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