A Greenpeace activist onboard the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior looks on as the vessel blocks coal shipments at the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant.
[ video | photos
Our action comes on the eve of the G8 Environment Ministers
Meeting in Japan. The richest industrialised countries in the world
are gathering in Kobe to discuss solutions to climate change from
24-26 May. Ending the use of coal needs to top the agenda.
One-hundred-fifty kilometers southwest of Manila, the Rainbow
Warrior is anchored alongside the coal ship Medi Firenze, which is
unloading a cargo of coal at the plant's dock. This prevents a
bigger shipment of coal - from the 223-meter vessel Sam John Spirit
standing by to unload - from approaching.
A giant banner reading "Quit coal" is strung between the Rainbow
Warrior's masts to drive home the message that the Philippine
government should stop building and expanding harmful coal-fired
Update - 25 May - We've ended our protest on a high note.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri sent a message of support to the Rainbow
Warrior saying, "I will file a resolution in the Senate seeking a
halt in the construction of new coal fired power plants in the
Read more at
Rainbow Warrior ends peaceful protest at Pagbilao.
Philippines at risk
The Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to rising
sea levels, more frequent cyclones and other devastating effects
from climate change. The coal plant's planned expansion would mean
an additional 5 million tons of climate-wrecking carbon dioxide
pumped into the atmosphere every year - double the plant's current
But the expansion is not the only concern. The government is
currently planning to build eight new coal-fired power
"At a time when we need to be doing everything we can to reduce
our emissions, we are importing more and more fossil fuel that we
don't need and which will bring consequences we simply cannot
afford. The banks and companies that fund our coal industry need to
realise that what looks like investment to them is going to mean
destruction for us," said Jasper Inventor, Climate Campaigner with
Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
The Philippines have the capacity to produce 54 percent more
electricity than they use. However problems with the electricity
grid means the excess goes to waste rather than towards powering
people's homes, villages and towns. The government needs to invest
in resolving the problem of power transmission, rather than new
coal fired power.
Governor calls for "coal free
The government's plans are not only out of step with the global
fight to tackle climate change. Governor of Albay province in
Luzon, Joey Sarte Salceda, recently announced the province a coal
free zone. "Albay is taking a bold step .... by declaring ... a 'No
to mining and coal free zone'. We believe there is no place for
coal in a world beset by climate change and certainly there is no
place for coal in Albay," he said. "I call on other nations,
particularly the developed nations, to reject coal."
The energy sector produces two-thirds of the world's climate
change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, with coal-fired power
stations the greatest offenders. The Philippines already has eight
coal-fired power stations, which account for as much as 36 percent
of the country's energy emissions.
"Clearly the national government is not serious about addressing
climate change," said Jasper Inventor. "If the government wants to
do right, the first thing on its list should be to quit coal and
ensure an end to coal construction and expansion. The government
must start phasing out of this dirty and dangerous power source
while increasingly tapping clean, safe, renewable energy.
Renewable energy sources are abundant in the Philippines, the only
thing we need more of is the political will to deploy them."
The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines to spearhead the
Greenpeace "Quit Coal Tour" in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Our
tour aims to promote solutions to stop climate change - an energy
revolution away from the use of climate-damaging coal, and a
massive shift to renewable energy.
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