“Confront climate change—or invest in life rafts”

Greenpeace tells ASEAN governments to shift to renewable energy

Feature story - July 21, 2006
Simultaeneous Greenpeace actions in Thailand and the Philippines marked the eve of the ASEAN Energy Ministers Meeting slated in Laos next week. Highlighting the need for urgent action in the region to combat the threat of climate change, activists with 'life rafts' and 'life buoys' demanded urgent aggressive investments in renewable energy.

Tara Buakamsri (L), Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy campaigner in Thailand submits a letter to Nattapong Seetavorarat (R), Secretary to the Minister of Energy as Greenpeace activists wearing life jackets sit in the emergency life raft with images of floods and destruction caused by climate change, and unfurling a banner with the message "Invest in renewable energy now" at in front of the Thailand Energy Ministry.

Greenpeace activists in the Philippines wearing swim trunks and carrying life buoys, protested in front of the Department of Energy (DoE) in Manila, 21 July 2006 with the words “Act Now!” emblazoned on their chests. A simultaeneous protest was held in Bangkok where Greenpeace deployed a 16-man emergency life raft in front of the Thailand Energy Ministry offices. Greenpeace is calling on energy ministers in both countries to respond with urgent action to combat climate change by setting ambitious targets for renewable energy in the country and by pushing ASEAN towards this direction.

Greenpeace activists in the Philippines wearing swim trunks and carrying life buoys, protested in front of the Department of Energy (DoE) in Manila, 21 July 2006 with the words “Act Now!” emblazoned on their chests.

A security personnel inside the Department of Energy building looks on as Greenpeace activists in the Philippines wearing swim trunks and carrying life buoys, calling for urgent action to combat climate change by setting ambitious targets for renewable energy in the country.

Greenpeace deployed a 16-man emergency life raft in front of the Thailand Energy Ministry offices. Greenpeace is calling on energy ministers in both countries to respond with urgent action to combat climate change by setting ambitious targets for renewable energy in the country and by pushing ASEAN towards this direction.

Greenpeace activists wearing life jackets sit in the emergency life raft with images of floods and destruction caused by climate change, and unfurling a banner with the message "Invest in renewable energy now" at in front of the Thailand Energy Ministry.

Greenpeace activists in Thailand and the Philippines today simultaneously called upon their respective energy ministers with 'life rafts' and 'life buoys' to demand urgent action to combat climate change through aggressive investments in renewable energy.

The group warned that, by failing to do so, these countries face the grim prospects of sea-level rise, floods, disastrous storms and prolonged droughts.

The demonstrations, held on the eve of the ASEAN Energy Ministers Meeting slated in Laos next week, highlighted the need for urgent action in the region to stop climate change. Volunteers in the Philippines, wearing swim trunks and carrying life buoys, protested in front of the Department of Energy (DoE) in Manila with the words "Act Now!" emblazoned on their chests. In Bangkok, Thailand, Greenpeace activists deployed a 16-man emergency life raft in front of the Thailand Energy Ministry with images of floods and destruction caused by climate change, and unfurled a banner with the message "Invest in renewable energy now".

Greenpeace activists in the Philippines wearing swim trunks and carrying life buoys, protested in front of the Department of Energy (DoE) in Manila, 21 July 2006 with the words “Act Now!” emblazoned on their chests. A simultaeneous protest was held in Bangkok where Greenpeace deployed a 16-man emergency life raft in front of the Thailand Energy Ministry offices. Greenpeace is calling on energy ministers in both countries to respond with urgent action to combat climate change by setting ambitious targets for renewable energy in the country and by pushing ASEAN towards this direction.©Greenpeace/Alex Baluyot-Vinai Datajohn

"Climate change must be put at the heart of our countries' economic and energy policies. We are already losing billions of dollars from the economic, social and environmental impacts of climate change. Energy policies of governments in the region must respond to this crisis with urgency by setting ambitious targets for renewable energy in the country and by pushing ASEAN towards this direction," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy campaigner in Thailand Tara Buakamsri.

Southeast Asian scientists revealed this week that due to an increase in extreme weather events, Thailand suffered more than Bt70 billion (around US$ 1.75 billion) in economic losses in the period between 1989 and 2002, while the Philippines lost an annual average of 4.5 billion pesos (around US$ 83 million) from 1975 to 2002. To mitigate these impacts, they said countries in the region must urgently combine disaster-preparedness programs with greenhouse emission reduction measures such as displacing fossil energy with renewables and energy efficiency(1).

The ASEAN Energy Ministers Meeting next week will be held amid intensifying climate impacts in the region: floods, storms and droughts, and the ever-rising costs of fossil fuels. But, while Southeast Asia is one of the regions most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the issue is still not a priority in ASEAN energy discussions. At present, the combined carbon emissions of ASEAN countries ranks third among the developing areas of the world, following China and India(2).

"Instead of advancing renewable energy to thwart climate change and address real energy security, our energy policies are retrogressing towards addiction to coal. This type of energy policies are in fact a threat to our country and region. The Philippines and Thailand should take the lead in steering the ASEAN toward adopting low carbon economies," said Jasper Inventor, Climate and Energy Campaigner in the Philippines.

For more information:

  Jasper Inventor, Climate and Energy Campaigner (Philippines), +63917 300 9567

  Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner (Philippines), +632 434 7034 ext 104, +63916 374 4969

Tara Buakamsri, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Thailand), +661 855 0013

  Ua-phan Chamnan-ua, Media Campaigner (Thailand), +661 928 2426

Notes: 1) Sources: Crisis or Opportunity: Climate Impacts and Thailand, Crisis or Opportunity: Climate Impacts and the Philippines, both Greenpeace reports are available for download at www.greenpeace.org.ph 2) Data from the US Energy Information Administration show that Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia produced nearly 250 million tons of carbon emissions in 2003. In comparison, China produced 965.72 million tons, and India 279.50 million tons in the same period.

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