Greenpeace calls on Philippines to Turn the Tide

Bats for renewable Mindanao

Feature story - November 19, 2010
Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior arrived today in General Santos City in Mindanao, Southern Philippines to kick off the Philippine leg of her “Turn the Tide” tour of Southeast Asia. The ship, which brings with her a vision of a green and peaceful future, has been traveling the region since September and is now on its final tour stop in the Philippines. Greenpeace is calling for an Energy [R]evolution(1) in the country and is batting for clean, sustainable, peaceful energy in Mindanao.

“Greenpeace believes that clean, renewable energy is crucial for genuine development.  Our message is clear:  sustainability and economic development go hand in hand.  Destructive, carbon intensive fossil-fuel based systems have given rise to the most urgent environmental threats that our country and the world faces today.  This is now the challenge for President Noynoy Aquino.  Even as the current administration is looking at ways to stimulate the economy, it is critical that economic interventions are also sustainable for the planet and especially for the Philippines’ future,” said Mark Dia, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Philippines country representative.

“Clean energy has an important role to play in Mindanao’s sustainable development, and now is the time to intervene before more coal plants are built on the island.  There are options available to Mindanao other than coal -- options that work.  Mindanao with a renewable energy scenario opens doors to a green development pathway for the island, and less conflict with equal access and sovereignty of energy for all,” he added.

The Rainbow Warrior arrives in the Philippines two months after the launch of the “Turn the Tide Tour” in Bangkok, Thailand.  The ship has been sailing the region, working with grassroots environmental movements in Thailand and in Indonesia, and joining communities in their call for renewable energy solutions and their demand for a model of development that values human lives and livelihoods, as well as the natural ecosystems on which these depend.  The Tour marks 10 years of Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigns to protect forests, catalyze an Energy [R]evolution, promote sustainable agriculture, and stop water pollution in the region.

Greenpeace believes that the Philippines has the potential to lead the Energy [R]evolution and be a model of renewable energy uptake and low-carbon development.  As an archipelago and a developing country, the Philippines is  known to be vulnerable to climate change.  But what is lesser known is the that the country could lead the rest of the developing world by harnessing its enormous renewable energy potential.  Data from the Department of Energy shows that the country’s total wind power potential is at 70,000 megawatts (MW), and solar power potential is at 5.1 kilowatt hours per square meter(2).  Currently, new renewables(3) comprise only .9% of the country’s energy mix.

As part of the ship tour, Greenpeace is inviting President Aquino to visit their flagship when it docks in Manila on November 27 to 29, and is urging him to commit to 50% renewable energy by 2020, through a public petition at their website, www.grenpeace.org.ph.

“The Rainbow Warrior is a symbol of positive change and represents people’s struggle for a cleaner, greener and peaceful future.  We are honored to be part of the movement in the Philippines that aims to make green development a reality.  The Rainbow Warrior first toured the Philippines ten years ago to expose and address toxic waste and dioxin pollution from incineration.  She has since sailed for clean energy and for the phase out of coal power.  In those ten years, landmark laws(4) have been enacted.  We believe that change is possible, and together with communities, action can turn the tide,” said Mike Finken, captain of the Rainbow Warrior.

The Rainbow Warrior’s  two-and-a-half month voyage across Southeast Asia to promote a green and peaceful future began in Thailand on September 17, 2010 and will conclude in Manila on November 29. The ship’s fourth visit to the region coincides with the 10th year anniversary of Greenpeace’s official presence in Southeast Asia — as well as the Rainbow Warrior’s first ever tour of the region, the ‘Toxics-Free Asia Tour’ in 2000. Follow the Tour on www.greenpeace.org/seasia.

(1) The Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution is a detailed, practical blueprint for cutting carbon emissions while achieving economic growth by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, decentralized smart girds  and energy efficiency technologies.  This phase-out of fossil fuels offers substantial benefits such as energy security, independence from world market fuel prices, reduction in pollution-related illnesses and most of all, it is an urgently needed solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to halt runaway climate change phenomenon.

(2) http://www.doe.gov.ph/ER/BioOSW.htm

(3) Renewable energy from solar power, wind and modern biomass

(4) The Solid Waste Management Act, the Clean Air Act and the Renewable Energy Act