Greenpeace statement ahead of the State of the Nation address:

PNoy’s legacy: more coal plants than those built by all his predecessors combined?

Press release - July 21, 2012
Ahead of the President’s State of the Nation address this Monday, Greenpeace today urged President Benigno Aquino III to take a clear stand for renewable energy (RE) and cancel all 16 coal-fired power plant proposals approved since he took office in 2010.

“Greenpeace is calling on President Aquino to revoke all coal power plants approved during his term.  Otherwise, he will be leaving a legacy as the president who built more coal plants than all of his predecessors combined, inflicting pollution and climate change on the Filipino people,” said Anna Abad, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Coal is the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel.  Coal endangers the health and livelihood of communities and is one of the major causes of climate change.  Unfortunately, PNoy’s current energy policy has opened the door to dozens of new coal-fired power plants that Greenpeace believes will effectively shut out any significant renewable energy uptake in the Philippines.

Under the direction of Secretary Jose Almendras, the Department of Energy has approved an unprecedented number of coal projects, at least 16 nationwide, with a combined output of 4,552 MW--a figure which far exceeds the aggregate number of coal projects approved by previous administrations.

While it was busy rolling out the red carpet for coal, the DOE also effectively blocked the full implementation of the Renewable Energy Law, allowing the approval of feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates for renewable energy to drag on.  The delay of RE FIT rates have caused the delay and cancellation of RE power proposals in the country.

Globally, investments in renewable energy are outstripping that of fossil fuels.  In the Philippines, however, the Aquino administration has secured coal projects until the end of the President’s term, consequently preventing the chances for more significant renewable energy projects to take off.

For communities who will end up hosting these plants, this means living under the shadow of life-threatening toxic emissions, destroyed livelihoods and greater water scarcity. [1]  For Filipinos in general, this also means greater energy insecurity and higher electricity costs in the long term given the ever-increasing price of finite coal and fossil fuel supplies globally.

Earlier, communities from Bataan, Davao, Negros, Subic-Olongapo, and Zamboanga, among others, voiced their outrage and disapproval for DOE’s coal projects in an open letter addressed to the President.[2]

“It is disheartening that the administration is being muddled by the wanton politics of the energy industry facilitated by none other than the Energy Secretary.  Greenpeace believes that now is the time for the President to show his commitment to good governance and stand by his pledge to ensure RE will ‘fuel our movement towards the rebuilding of this nation,’” said Abad.

“The upcoming State of the Nation address offers the opportunity for the President to renew that commitment by making clear that he will stand not with big coal businesses, but with the communities who will become victims of coal plant pollution, and the whole nation which is reeling under the impacts of climate change.  As a start, the President must cancel the proposed coal plants to ensure that the environment is protected and conserved, not exploited for short term benefits in the guise of economic growth.  He must also oppose any attempt to block, weaken, or delay the full implementation of the RE Law,” Abad concluded.

--------------------------------

For more information:

Anna Abad, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +63  917 857 3330,

Lea Guerrero, Communications, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +63 908 885 1140,

--------------------------------

Notes to Editor:

1. Greenpeace report, The True Cost of Coal

2. Open letter to President Benigno S. Aquino

Media package:

1.  Infographic: Existing and approved coal-fired power plants in the Philippines

2.  Table: Existing and approved coal-fired power plants in the Philippines

3.  Multi-media story of a woman who is fighting against a coal project in Barangay Talisayan, Zamboanga

4.  Story on a coal plant in Davao that is going to be built on sacred Islamic burial grounds

Categories