Philippine politicians back Greenpeace Quit Coal call

Feature story - 28 May, 2008
One week into the Philippines leg of our flagship the Rainbow Warrior’s Quit Coal tour and senior politicians are lining up to support our Quit Coal call to protect the climate.

Albay Province Vice Governor Brando Sael reads a statement declaring Albay as a COAL FREE ZONE.

On day one, immediately following our press conference in Albay to explain the campaign, local Governor Joey Sarte Salceda called for Albay to be a coal-free zone. He said: "We believe there is no place for coal in a world beset by climate change and certainly there is no place for coal in Albay." He called on all developed countries to reject coal.

A few days later the Warrior and crew were outside Pagbilao coal-fired power plant, blockading shipments of coal. That unleashed a media frenzy, with the front pages of the biggest papers in the Philippines relaying our message that the country needs to quit coal.

We stopped the protest when Senator Zubiri announced in a communiqué to the Rainbow Warrior:  "I will file a resolution in the Senate seeking a halt in the construction of new coal fired power plants in the country.  In tandem will be a strong Renewable Energy Bill that shall allow us to shift towards a low carbon economy, and away from dependence on fossil fuels, particularly coal. Coal carries huge environmental, health and social costs."

A great start. But then today, we received another statement of support when Senator Pia Juliana Cayetano, who chairs the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and is the principal sponsor of the proposed renewable energy act.

Cayetano declared: "I am one with Greenpeace in aiming for a coal-free Philippines. The threat of climate change demands a shift towards a sustainable, clean and low carbon future. Government should lay out concrete plans for implementing clean energy solutions in the power sector."

A few hours later the call was echoed by Congressman Lorenzo R. Tañada III.

Coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels and the largest single source of CO2 in the world. Currently, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions come from burning coal. In the Philippines eight coal-fired power stations produce 36% of the country's energy emissions, and the government plans to build or expand nine power plants. Instead the Philippines need to improve the efficiency of its energy system, embrace renewable energy and quit coal.

These political developments and statements of support for our call to Quit Coal show the impact our campaign is having. The Albay declaration spelled out an agenda, and the peaceful confrontation at Pagbilao has started a process that could lead to the Philippines quitting coal for good. We'll be keeping up the pressure in the coming days and weeks - working to deliver the energy [r]evolution that the world needs.

The Quit Coal tour is just part of our global campaign against coal. In recent months we've blocked coal exports in New Zealand and power plant construction in Holland and Germany. Last week, as our activists in the Philippines were preparing for action, a team in Israel were delivering the message to their government. We've also brought out a comprehensive report showing that the industries talk of carbon sequestration is just an 'end of pipe' dream used to justify building more coal power plants that will never be clean.

Take action

We're sending a message to the world leaders who will be meeting at the G8 Summit in Tokyo. Ask the leaders of Germany, Japan, the US, Canada, France, Italy, Russia, and the UK join YOU by becoming energy [r]evolutionaries.