Coal is Climate Crime

Feature story - October 30, 2001
International environmental group, Greenpeace together with local activists and villagers from Bo Nok stormed the headquarters of Gulf Power Inc. today to push for the cancellation of the proposed polluting coal-fired power plant project in Prachuab Khiri Khan province.

Greenpeace activists joined hundreds of villagers from Bo Nok community in a march to Gulf Power Generation's headquarters at M-Thai Tower along Wireless road to urge the company to abandon plans to build the said 734 MW power plant. The march was led by people carrying a wreath and a coffin painted with whales and images of Prachuab's pristine nature. The protesters carried the message, "Stop Coal Plant or Kiss Prachuab goodbye!"

"Greenpeace is here today to lend our support to the Bo Nok people who are long opposed to this mega-coal plant project, which we consider extremely dirty and polluting. Digging up coal and burning it to generate energy is no different from burying Thailand's irreplaceable natural resources under coal ashes," said Penrapee Noparumpa, climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace claims the so-called clean coal plants are a myth as they still utilize coal, considered one of dirtiest fossil fuels. Coal is the most carbon-intensive among fossil fuels and produces 29 percent more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and 80 percent more than natural gas. Coal is 99 times more polluting than renewable energy sources i.e. biomass and solar energy.

"The Thai government should not allow companies such as Gulf Power to use our country as dumping ground for these unwanted technologies. We appeal to authorities, companies and financiers involved to stop this kind of costly yet polluting investment. The costs of cleaning up dirty power stations alongside addressing other health and social impacts will put a major strain on our already vulnerable economy. Instead money should be given to mainstream financing of cleaner, renewable energy sources such as biomass, wind and solar," added Dr. Jiragorn Gajaseni, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace recently dispelled claims of Gulf and Australian scientist Dr. Harcourt who have alleged that the organization has sent a scientist to Bo Nok for studies. Greenpeace reiterated its commitment to its core values of peace and non-violence. (1)

"Local communities in Prachuab whose very livelihood and survival are under threat have for years been struggling to stop these coal plants. Many years of fighting and protesting have not dampened their spirits and they continue to be vigilant. This should serve as a wake up call to Gulf and the government that the proposed projects will never ever gain consent from the people. It is time to abandon this project and instead work our way towards helping Thailand leapfrog into the renewables age based on clean energy sources," stressed Noparumpa.


(1) Greenpeace Southeast Asia had issued a statement disclaiming ties with Dr. Harcourt on 19 October, 2001.