Coal demons dance for joy at ADB ‘clean’ energy meet

Greenpeace slams DOE, lending institution

Feature story - June 7, 2012
Carrying the message “Dirty coal: more fun in the Philippines, thanks to DOE and ADB,” dozens of nasty “coal demons” danced in frenzied joy in in front of the Asia Development Bank (ADB) in Metro Manila, during the second day of the bank’s 7th Annual Clean Energy meet. The coal demons—activists painted black and dancing to drum beats—used the occasion to celebrate the love of coal by agencies such as the ADB and the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE).

“The DOE and ADB love coal so much they’re worshipped by coal demons such as the coal industry. Meanwhile genuine clean energy solutions such as the Renewable Energy Law are languishing.  Clearly, coal proponents and investors are having the time of their lives at the expense of RE—aided by institutions who are supposed to be ensuring massive RE development for the sake of present and future generations,” said Anna Abad, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “The DOE should abandon coal projects and instead ensure the immediate full implementation of the RE Law.  Further delays are inexcusable.”

Coal, the most polluting, most climate-destructive fossil fuel, imposes huge costs on human communities through toxic emissions and by worsening climate change impacts.  But the DOE and the ADB continue to promote this dirty energy source.  Under the direction of Secretary Jose Almendras, the DOE has approved a total of 1,700 MW of coal projects since 2010.  The Philippines can generate around 261,000 megawatts of clean energy from renewable sources.  The country is also the second largest producer of geothermal energy in the world and the top wind producer in Southeast Asia.  However, between 2009 and 2010, the percentage share for coal power generation increased from 26.6% to 35%.  Current project proposals mean that coal share will continue to increase in the coming years.

However, the RE Law, passed in 2008, is still not fully implemented, and the almost 4-year delay has meant lost opportunities in RE projects and investments.  Greenpeace believes that the proliferation of coal proposals and the DOE’s approval of these is one of the major stumbling blocks.

Greenpeace is also calling on the ADB to support the RE initiatives of its member countries by ensuring that investments go to RE development rather than fraudulent technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).  As an institutional funding agency, the ADB plays a significant role in spurring RE investments in their member countries in support of sustainable development initiatives, such as the Philippines’ RE Law.

The ADB is supporting CCS, which is an extremely costly and risky unproven technology.  The 7th ACEF has devoted a session on CCS today, with the ADB presenting its technical assistance on CCS in Southeast Asia, totaling US$ 1,250,000 allocated for Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Despite much talk on projected markets and billions of dollars of public funding committed to CCS development, there were 12 major CCS project cancellations in 2011.(1)  CCS is often pitched as the solution to CO2 emissions from coal yet there is no large-scale full chain CCS demonstration on a coal-fired power station anywhere in the world,” said Amalie Obusan, Regional Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.   “In the meantime, RE development is hampered and financing is threatened by the fact that much needed capital is now diverted to CCS.”

Note:

  1. “Unproven, Uneconomical and Unwanted: CCS project cancellations despite substantial public funding,” Greenpeace International Briefing Paper, November 2011.

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