Greenpeace halts coal plant in Thailand

Feature story - 21 April, 2005
Our activists today disrupted the construction of an internationally-funded coal power plant and demanded that the project be stopped immediately. Activists from Thailand, Philippines and Germany occupied the main crane of the coal power plant to demand renewable energy for Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia energy campaigners Red Constantino, and Tara Buakamsri hold up a banner calling for a stop to the construction of a coal fired power plant in Rayong province on Thailand's eastern seaboard.

"Climate change is the greatest threat to the planet and todeveloping countries like Thailand, yet companies like BLCP continuebuilding dirty coal plants.  This is a scandal that must beexposed and must be stopped.  The lives of millions are at risk,"said Tara Buakamsri of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

 TheBLCP power station is currently under construction in MaptaphutIndustrial Estate in Rayong, Thailandwith operations expected to startas early as 2006.

The power plant is owned by theHong Kong-based China Light and Power Co (CLP) and Banpu Plc, and isfunded mainly by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Bank forInternational Cooperation (JBIC).

The coal plantalso has backing from Australian coal firm Rio Tinto, which has secureda long-term exclusive contract to supply coal for the power plant.

Oncecompleted the 1,434 megawatt coal plant will emit massive amounts ofgreenhouse gases over its lifespan, contributing significantly toclimate change.

By our calculations, the BLCP coal plant will emit 229 million tons of carbon dioxide in 20 years. 

"Lestthey be permanently branded as climate criminals, the ADB and ChinaLight and Power must withdraw immediately from this dirty energyproject. It's time that they contribute to real solutions to thesustainable development of Thailand.  It's time they embracerenewable energy," said Tara.

According to theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the foremost globalauthority on the issue, the projected distribution of economic impactsof climate change would increase the disparity in well-being betweendeveloped countries and developing countries.

Theeffects of climate change are expected to be greatest in developingcountries in terms of loss of life and negative effects on the economy.

Human-inducedclimate change is projected to increase the severity and frequency ofextreme weather events such as storms and drought. 

Recently, Thailandwas caught in the grip of a catastrophic droughtwhich has affected 63 of the country's 76 provinces, affecting anestimated 9.2 million Thais and destroying 809,000 hectares offarmland.

According to the government, the catastrophe has cost as much as US$193.2 million in damages.

"What's at stake is the very future of our people and environment. No more coal," said Tara.