Anti-coal icon commemorated as specter of climate impacts grip communities

Feature story - June 21, 2007
Greenpeace raised the specter of global warming and its impacts, at a massive community commemoration of the martyrdom of Charoen Wataksorn, Thailand's most prominent anti-coal activist, who was assassinated by alleged pro-coal mafia at Prachuab Khiri Khan province in 2004.

Environmentalist Charoen Wataksorn, who was murdered on June 21, 2004, lived an extraordinary and inspiring life. He was a hero who fought to his death for justice, for the protection of his community and the environment.

Prachuab Khiri Khan community members install a statue of the assasinated anti-coal activist Charoen Wataksorn at Wat Bonok on Thursday 21 June 2007.

Thousands of community members, NGO representatives and Buddhist monks participated in the 2-day program at Prachuab Khiri Khan to express solidarity with anti-coal communities in Thailand. Rallies, parades, memorial services and discussions on proposed coal -fired power plants and steel manufacturing facilities in this southern region of Thailand marked the memorial celebrations.

"Chareon's murder has galvanized the battle against coal by communities who are now well aware that they would suffer the worst impacts from local pollution and global climate change caused by coal fired power plants.  Burning of coal is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions from energy sector. Carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants are responsible for global warming and emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide and other deadly gases result in fatal impacts on the health of the local population." Said Tara Buakamsri, Climate and Energy campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"Sea-levels are rising, drastic climate change and weather events are wreaking havoc across the planet, and unprecedented water scarcity and famine are predicted in the next two decades due to global warming," he continued. "We still have options, there is still time for an energy revolution that is driven by renewable energy and energy efficiency measures which will dramatically transform our energy system, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level that keeps the global average temperature increase well below 2 degrees C, avoiding the most catastrophic impacts. What is required is political will and people's mandate."

"Chareon's murder has galvanized the battle against coal by communities who are now well aware that they would suffer the worst impacts from local pollution and global climate change caused by coal fired power plants."

Tara Buakamsri

Climate and Energy campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Greenpeace demands that the Thailand Government:

  • Stop building new coal plants and phase out all subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy
  • Implement accounting measures of greenhouse gas emissions caused by all projects
  • Set legally binding targets of 10 percent by 2010 for renewable energy
  • Ensure that barriers for the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency are removed and investment in renewable energy projects is commensurate with the urgency of the threat posed by climate change

Greenpeace is an independent campaign organization, which uses non-violent, confrontational creative strategies to address global environmental problems, and promote solutions essential for a green and peaceful future.

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