After successful campaigns in New Zealand and the Philippines, the Rainbow Warrior spent 21 days in Thailand as part of the "Quit Coal, Lead the Energy [R]evolution Tour" promoting solutions to climate change. The tour included human banners, port blockades and a visit to the Ministry of Energy.
Greenpeace activists brought hundreds of balloons, symbolising carbon emissions from new coal power plants in Thailand, to the Ministry of Energy in Bangkok.
Thailand's energy revolution should be underway already thanks
to a new law that allows residents and villages to generate
electricity from wind turbines or other renewable sources and sell
surplus electricity back to grid. This should help alleviate
poverty and unemployment among Thais as well as generate clean
That sounds sweet - but the reality looks very different as many
bureaucratic barriers prevent people from taking up this
opportunity. And the lack of a Renewable Energy law that
prioritises green electricity over dirty electricity means that
investors are gearing up to build coal fired power plants instead
of windfarms. Last year even nuclear energy appeared on the
Our tour started on July 4th when the Rainbow Warrior, sailed
into Songkhla. We were launching a Greenpeace petition to the
Ministry of Energy demanding they reject coal, nuclear and other
fossil-fuel energy systems, a petition that was endorsed by over
The ship then moved on to Thapsake on July 9th when hundreds of
local people joined the crew to form a human banner proclaiming
'Quit Coal' on the beach. The Electricity Generating Authority of
Thailand (EGAT) is proposing to build a 4000 MW coal-fired power
plant in Thapsakae but local communities are opposing it due to
concerns about pollution and climate change. These villagers added
their voice to the Greenpeace petition to the Ministry of
In Rayong province, on July 15th the crew of the Rainbow Warrior
staged a peaceful protest against the expansion of a Belgian-owned
coal power plant in Mapthaphut, anchoring a few meters off the coal
wharf and unfurling banners saying "Quit Coal" and "Coal = Climate
Change". The ship was confronted by tug boats and coal plant
personnel who fired water cannons as it entered the coal port.
European energy companies such as the Belgium-based Suez Energy
International, part of the largest energy consortium in Western
Europe are involved with the expansion of the coal industry in
Thailand even though the European Union has committed to
drastically reduce its own carbon emissions by as much as 30
percent by 2020.
In Bangkok on July 21st we delivered our petition as Greenpeace
activists filled the Ministry of Energy headquarters with balloons
printed with the word "CO2". The balloons symbolize the carbon
emissions from the construction of new coal power plants in
Coal is the dirtiest, most carbon intensive of all fossil fuels.
Energy from coal now accounts for roughly 2 percent of global
greenhouse gas emissions. Emitting 29% more carbon per unit of
energy than oil and 80% more than gas, coal is one of the leading
contributors to climate change. Burning coal also releases massive
amounts of toxic substances such as mercury and arsenic which have
deadly impacts on human health.
Greenpeace is calling on the Thai government to quit coal and
increase energy efficiency. The government needs to adopt
legislation that provides investors in renewable energy with stable
and predictable returns and guarantee priority access to the grid
for renewable generators. Thailand doesn't need coal, it needs an
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