Greenpeace urges DENR to junk Negros Coal Power Project

Group does banner protest inside DENR compound

Press release - March 2, 2001
Activists from the international environmental group Greenpeace today carried out a banner protest inside the compound of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in support of local demands for the new government to immediately recall the controversial environmental clearance given by ex-DENR Secretary Antonio Cerilles to a dirty coal fired power plant project in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental.

Activists from the international environmental group Greenpeace today carried out a banner protest inside the compound of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in support of local demands for the new government to immediately recall the controversial environmental clearance given by ex-DENR Secretary Antonio Cerilles to a dirty coal fired power plant project in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental.

"Time and again, we have seen the DENR betray its primary mandate of environmental protection in favor of big commercial and anti-environment interests. The midnight ECC issued by Cerilles to the Pulupandan Coal Plant is just the latest among this agency's growing list of abuses against the environment and the people. The new administration needs to make a clean break from its predecessors' dirty past, and that could very well begin with the scrapping of the ECC granted to the Pulupandan coal project," said energy campaigner Red Constantino, of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Constantino added that this demand is consistent with the progressive position adopted by the Philippine goven1l11ent in the ongoing global climate treaty negotiations seeking to curb the use of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. "While the government has always adopted a strong position in favor of climate protection in the international arena, it has also continuously negated itself with its seeming over-emphasis on the construction and operation of coal power stations. We cannot afford the spectacle of a schizophrenic environmental agency," he stressed.

The Greenpeace activists unfurled a long banner demanding "Clean Energy Now" on top of the front canopy of the main DENR building to underscore the group's appeal for the Philippine goverl1lnent to abandon dirty energy projects and put greater premium instead on the development of clean and sustainable solutions like wind and solar energy projects. The group also replaced the DENR flag with a "clean energy campaign flag?' to remind the agency of its forgotten primary mandate of environmental protection.

The protest action is actually part of a globally coordinated action by Greenpeace in 14 countries to pressure governments, particularly those belonging to the elite G8 group of rich countries, to implement strong measures to reverse climate destruction and promote clean energy production.

The G8, led by the United States, is derailing the adoption of strong measures to save the climate in the Climate Treaty negotiations. Environment ministers of the G8 are currently meeting in Trieste, Italy.*

In January, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported after five years of research that " there is new and stronger evidence that most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities." Furthermore, the anticipated increase in temperature over the next century has increased to 1.4- 5.8 Celsius and "the projected rate of warning is much larger than the observed changes during the 20th century and is very likely without precedent during at least the last 10,000 years.*

"These scientific findings confirm our worst fears that island nations such as the Philippines will be most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change especially in terms of sea level rise, extreme weather events and loss of biodiversity," said Constantino. "There is no doubt we are facing a climate emergency. The time to embrace real solutions has never been more urgent than now," he added.

Notes: More recently, in Geneva, a second report from the IPCC concluded that current rates of human-induced climate change. . . · risk large scale and irreversible impacts, such as the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the shutting down of the Gulf Stream, and massive releases of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost and dying forests; · will have severe impacts on a regional level. For instance, megacities and densely populated areas along the Pacific and Indian Ocean coastlines will be caught between the threats of sea-level rise and river flooding from increased upstream precipitation; · will increase extreme weather events in temperate and tropical Asia, including floods, droughts, forest fires and tropical cyclones; · and will have the greatest impacts on those least able to protect themselves from rising sea levels, increase in disease and decrease in agricultural production in the developing countries in Africa and Asia.

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