APEC must reject coal, support clean energy

Feature story - February 22, 2006
Communities and organizations from the northen provinces of Thailand dumped coal at the venue of APEC's Clean Coal Conference in Lampang in opposition to the promotion coal and coal power plants.

Mr Prasai Pukphan, chairperson of the Network of Occupational Patients of Mae Moh, shows the "Climate Criminal" trophy, which feature a ghastly skull, as part of protest against the APEC Clean Coal meeting in Lampang province, 600 kms north of Bangkok. The disreputable honor were awarded to Wiset Chuphiban, Thailand's Ministry of Energy, Kraisri Kanasoot, CEO of Electricity Generating Authority, and Scott Smouse, Chair of APEC Expert Group on Clean Fossil Energy. Members of communities from northern Thai provinces and several organizations like Greenpeace, condemned APEC for promoting coal and demanded support for clean energy. Lampang is site of the Mae Coal Power plant, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and has caused deaths, severe health and environmental problems to nearby villages.

Mr Prasai Pukphan, chairperson of the Network of Occupational Patients of Mae Moh, shows the "Climate Criminal" trophy, which feature a ghastly skull, as part of protest against the APEC Clean Coal meeting in Lampang province, 600 kms north of Bangkok. The disreputable honor were awarded to Wiset Chuphiban, Thailand's Ministry of Energy, Kraisri Kanasoot, CEO of Electricity Generating Authority, and Scott Smouse, Chair of APEC Expert Group on Clean Fossil Energy. Members of communities from northern Thai provinces and several organizations like Greenpeace, condemned APEC for promoting coal and demanded support for clean energy. Lampang is site of the Mae Coal Power plant, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and has caused deaths, severe health and environmental problems to nearby villages.

Members of communities from northern Thai provinces and several organizations dumped coal at at the heavily guarded entrance of the APEC Clean Coal meeting venue in Lampang province, 600 kms north of Bangkok. People Against Coal, a coalition of communities from Chiang Mai and Lampang and several NGOs like Greenpeace, condemned APEC for promoting coal and demanded support for clean energy. Lampang is site of the Mae Coal Power plant, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and has caused deaths, severe health and environmental problems to nearby villages.

A villager from Mae Moh joins the protest at the heavily guarded entrance of the APEC Clean Coal meeting venue in Lampang province, 600 kms north of Bangkok.

Members of communities from northern provinces and several organizations today dumped coal at the venue of APEC's Clean Coal Conference in Lampang in opposition against the  promotion of coal and coal power plants in the country. 

People Against Coal, a coalition of communities from Chiangmai and Lampang and several NGOs like Greenpeace, demanded that coal plants be removed from Thailand's national energy development plan. The  group also called on APEC to promote investments in renewable energy.

Community leaders brought with them "Climate Criminal" trophies, which feature a ghastly skull, and were given to the prime promoters of dirty energy like coal.  The disreputable honor were awarded to Wiset Chuphiban, Thailand's Ministry of Energy, Kraisri Kanasoot, CEO of Electricity Generating Authority, and Scott Smouse, Chair of APEC Expert Group on Clean Fossil Energy.

The Mae Moh coal plant in Lampang has caused deaths, severe health problems and environmental damages, yet the Thai government continues the promotion of coal.

"The energy development plan drafted by the present government pushes for at least at least 30 % of Thailand's energy to come from coal. This is unacceptable," said Tara Buakamsri of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"And APEC, led by the US and Australia, undermine the world's efforts to reduce carbon emissions thru the promotion of coal. This meeting is shameless and ignores the suffering of people caused coal," he added.

Maliwan Nakwirot, secretary of the Network of Occupational Patients of Mae Moh added, "these awards symbolize the death of our community.

We want to give back to the climate criminals the terrible things that had happened to us. As a representative of communities affected by coal, we say we don't want coal, we want clean energy."

Studies conducted by the National Health Research Systems Institute indicate that the planned expansion of coal through the construction of 9 more coal plants by 2015 mean a new round of economic, health and environmental burden for the country. Calculations by the institute point out that the planned new coal plants will release of 358,011 tons of sulfur dioxide and more than 20 tons of mercury in the environment.

The institute cites their findings as reasons why coal should never again be a choice for the Thai society. Instead, it advocated for the rapid development of clean and sustainable energy, which is grounded on community participation.

"Coal is proven to be dirty, and clean coal is not only expensive but a technological failure. APEC should direct investments towards clean energy which will not only improve the quality of life in the country but also help in the reduction of catastrophic climate change impacts around the world," Tara concluded.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses non- violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Tara Buakamsri, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +661 8550013

Ua-phan Chamnan-ua, Media Campaigner, +661 9282426

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