Groups lambast APEC "clean coal" conference in Thailand

Feature story - February 20, 2006
Delegates of Asia Pacific Economic Conference Clean Coal Conference revives the 'clean coal' illusion in an attempt to make the coal industry to relevant in the age of renewables.

Greenpeace activists transmitted to the conference live images of the coal plant as a laser projector beamed messages such as CLIMATE CHANGE STARTS HERE" and "COAL KILLS" in front of Mae Moh coal power plant.

Greenpeace today condemned APEC's Clean Coal Conference which takes place this week in the province of Lampang as a propaganda that serves mainly the interest of the coal industry. The environment group said that the industry should not mislead people into believing that "clean coal" exists and called for a shift in energy policy towards clean renewable energy.

"By hosting the APEC Clean Coal Conference, the Thai government and the EGAT Plc. are indicating their intention to further the use of coal in the country's energy strategy. The planned expansion of the Mae Moh coal plant and construction of BLCP coal plant ignore people's opposition to coal and the severe health and environmental impacts that it causes. Thailand should stop the expansion of coal and shift to clean renewable energy," said Tara Buakamsri of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Supakit Nanthawaragan of Health System Research Institute added: "Our country's alternative energy plan clearly indicates that there is no need for the further use of coal which causes social, health and environmental problems. By simply accomplishing the government's target for renewable energy use, the country will be able to continue its economic/industrial development, reduce dependence from outside sources, increase employment and create a stable society."

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which includes the USA and Australia, is a group of Pacific Rim countries who work to develop economic and political ties (1). APEC countries collectively consumed 60% of the world's total energy and generated over 3.9 billion metric tons of energy-related carbon emissions (61% of the world's total) in 2000.

APEC's Expert Group on Clean Fossil Energy (EGCFE) will hold its "Technical and Policy Seminar on Clean Coal" in Lampang Province on 22-25 February 2006.

Ironically, Lampang is home to Mae Moh coal power plant, which has caused deaths, severe health problems and dire environmental impacts.

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

1) APEC is not a UN body and has no treaty obligations required of its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments during the meetings are undertaken on a voluntary basis. It's a very secretive body and its negotiations are neither transparent to the public nor open to civil society organisations. Some of the decisions made at APEC will lead to national law changes. For instance many countries have made it illegal to have monopolies in the energy market and countries are working towards ensuring that foreign companies are allowed to establish themselves in that country.

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