Greenpeace activists attacked in Philippine coal plant protest against climate change in Asia

Press release - November 10, 2005
A German Greenpeace activist holding a peaceful protest against the Masinloc coal power plant outside Manila was horrendously beaten by local plant personnel and four other Greenpeace activists from New Zealand and the Philippines had stones thrown at them. German Jens Loewe, 36, has been taken to a hospital emergency room and Filipinos Janine Mercado, Tomas Leonor and Pam Palma and New Zealander Debra Gay Pristor have also been taken to hospital.

German activist Jens Loewe, 36, being looked after by Filipino Pam Palma and New Zealander Debra Gay Pristor after being beaten by personnel of Masinloc coal power plant in the Philippines. The beating occurred during a peaceful protest against coal power plant that is fuelling global warming.

"Greenpeace condemns this violent attack to a peaceful protest," said Greenpeace Southeast  Asia Energy Campaigner Red Constantino.  "It is disproportionate to the nature of the protest which is peaceful, non violent protest.

"We're disappointed that the Filipino plant personnel prefers to protect the interests of a power plant that brings more harm than good to people. Coal is the culprit here, not peaceful protest."

Greenpeace activists were at the plant to draw attention to Australian and Japanese backing of the expansion of climate changing coal dependency in Asia. "The Masinloc power plant displays the very worst excesses of the Philippine and Asian coal industry," said Constantino at the plant site. "Masinloc's environmental impact has never been publicly scrutinised and yet funds  from organisations like the Asian Development Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) are  being earmarked  for a  50% expansion of  the plant's  power capacity at a time when there is considerable controversy surrounding  the financing of its privatisation sale. Worse still, it is primarily coal from Australia that will feed the planned expansion.(1)

"Burning coal is the main cause of global warming. Australia and Japan are underwriting climate change at a time when the Philippines and Asia are facing the likelihood of devastating social  and economic instability from climate change precisely when the country and the rest of Asia are least able to deal with its impacts.(2) The expansion of coal in the Philippines and Asia must stop. Greenpeace  calls on the Philippine Senate for an inquiry into  Masinloc's expansion plans," said Constantino.

 "It is no surprise that countries like Australia refuse to join the Kyoto Protocol and then talk of secret climate pacts," said Greenpeace International's Athena Ronquillo on-board the Greenpeace flagship the Rainbow Warrior. "It is the world's biggest coal exporter, it has Asia on an addictive drip of climate changing coal and it plays dirty," said Greenpeace International's Athena Ronquillo. "Japan is equally as hypocritical. It is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol yet continues to be far and away the biggest funder of dirty energy projects in Asia."

Clean alternatives to fossil fuel power in Asia are widely available. In the Philippines enough wind power potential exists to produce 7 times over the country's current energy demand. In the Chinese province of Guangdong there exists sufficient wind power potential to meet the equivalent of the current energy supply in Hong Kong.(3)

"Time is not on our side. We have to cut global greenhouse emissions by at least half by the middle of this century to avoid catastrophic climate change. That means that global emissions must peak within the next 10-15 years, not 25 or 30 years from now," concluded Ronquillo.

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Other contacts: In the PhilippinesRed Constantino, Greenpeace SEA Energy campaigner, +63 917 524 1123Athena Ronquillo, Greenpeace International Energy Campaigner + 63 9178131 562Michael Kessler, Greenpeace International Communications + 63 915 945 0066Lea Guerrero, Greenpeace SEA Media Officer, +63 917 374 4969In EuropeGina Sánchez, Greenpeace International Communications, +31 627 000064

VVPR info: John Novis, Greenpeace International Photo Editor +31 6 53 81 91 21

Notes: (1) In July this year Greenpeace's flagship the Rainbow Warrior shutdown the world's largest coal port in Newcastle. Coal exports from the port are set to increase some 50% in the coming years. Australia is the largest coal exporter in the world and is aggressively planning to increase its exports from 220 million tonnes to 300 million by 2010. (2) .Crisis or Opportunity: Climate Change Impacts and the Philippines, see www.asiacleanenergy.org(3). Wind Guangdong, see www.asiacleanenergy.org

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