European energy company Alstom dumping dirty technology on South

Feature story - July 3, 2002
On the day of its annual general meeting in Paris, the French-UK energy company Alstom faced international action from Greenpeace, as activists in Manila protested against the multinational's participation in climate changing coal-fired power stations in the Philippines.

At Alstom's head office in the Philippines, activists wearing business suits and snorkelling gear, unfurled a banner reading "Alstom: Global Warming Contractor!" in French and English. Protesters held placards showing the impacts of climate change, including rising oceans, increased flooding, drought and coral bleaching.

"Unless fossil-peddling corporations like Alstom stop dumping dirty conventional technology on the South, and switch investments to renewable energy, global warming will continue to threaten the economies of developing countries," said Athena Ballesteros, Greenpeace International climate campaigner in South East Asia. "It is time for Alstom to meaningfully embrace viable sustainable alternatives such as solar energy and wind power."

Alstom has provided the equipment for numerous coal plants in the Philippines, including a notorious mercury-spewing 600-MW plant of NAPOCOR in Calaca, Batangas; a 203-MW coal plant in Naga, Cebu and the1200-MW behemoth of Sual, Pangasinan. Alstom is also a major supplier of the highly controversial and corruption-tainted Three Gorges Dam of China. With estimated gross earnings of about 23 billion Euros last year, Alstom is one of the major players in the global energy market.

"The majority of Alstom's resources are used to produce equipment to process fossil fuels, which are responsible for climate change," said Laetitia Demarez of Greenpeace France. "Less than one percent of Alstom's resources go to developing renewable energy alternatives. This is shameful. Alstom will be held accountable to the growing impacts of global warming across the world."

Greenpeace also called on Alstom to withdraw from the proposed 50-MW coal plant at Pulupandan, in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental. Despite the cancellation of the project's environmental permit and the freeze of its investment registration papers, Alstom continues to insist on joining the project. The province of Negros Occidental has vast renewable energy resources. Commercially viable wind power from one site alone in Negros carries a 180-MW potential capacity.

"It is high time for Alstom to take the lead in climate protection by channeling its investments towards renewable energy," said Red Constantino, energy campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Clean energy's contribution to sustainable development is indisputable. Alstom should play the role of renewable energy leader in countries like the Philippines instead of pushing for large-scale polluting power plants. We welcome renewable energy investments but we reject the expansion of coal investments."

Greenpeace today announced that its ship MV Arctic Sunrise will arrive in the Philippines on July 17, on the southern leg of the Choose Positive Energy tour. The ship will visit the Philippines and Thailand, where communities are rejecting the dirty energy technology of coal fired power stations, and demanding clean renewable energy fill the growing demand. The Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, is presently campaigning in the North Sea against nuclear and fossil fuel energy on the northern leg of the Choose Positive Energy Tour.

Greenpeace is campaigning for world leaders to make a decision at the upcoming Johannesburg Earth Summit, to supply renewable energy to the two billion people around the world who currently live without electricity. Shifting massive subsidies and other support from climate changing fossil fuels and to environmentally friendly renewables and making sure that the social and environmental costs of fossil fuels are reflected in their prices are essential to start the renewables era protecting the climate. In the countdown to the Earth Summit, the Choose Positive Energy tour will illustrate that renewable energy is ready and able to replace dirty coal, oil, gas and nuclear power - not only in the future but also today.

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