Greenpeace 'Polar Bear' visits RP Senate straight from Bali

Demands swift passage of Renewable Energy Bill

Feature story - December 19, 2007
"My home is in danger—so is yours," a Greenpeace 'polar bear' today warned lawmakers, as he demanded, in a visit to the Senate, that the government immediately pass the Renewable Energy (RE) Bill.

A Greenpeace 'polar bear' and a volunteer hang a Christmas stocking at the Philippine Senate entrance gate with messages to lawmakers asking for the immediate enactment of the Renewable Energy (RE) Bill as a Christmas gift to the Filipino people. The passage of the RE bill will be the country's first important contribution to help combat climate change.

A Greenpeace 'polar bear' and volunteers visit the Philippine Senate after the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. Greenpeace is demanding that lawmakers expedite the passage of the Renewable Energy Bill as the country's first step toward the global effort to stop climate change.

A Greenpeace 'polar bear' and volunteers visit the Philippine Senate after the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. Greenpeace is demanding that lawmakers expedite the passage of the Renewable Energy Bill as the country's first step toward the global effort to stop climate change.

A Greenpeace 'polar bear' and volunteers hang a Christmas stocking at the Philippine Senate entrance gate with messages to lawmakers asking for the immediate enactment of the Renewable Energy (RE) Bill as a Christmas gift to the Filipino people. The passage of the RE bill will be the country's first important contribution to help combat climate change.

Going by the moniker 'P. Bear,' the Greenpeace mascot, accompanied by volunteers, also hung a Christmas stocking at the Senate entrance. The stocking contained messages to lawmakers asking for the immediate enactment of the RE Bill as a manifestation of the government's commitment to help mitigate climate change impacts. The RE Bill will serve as a Christmas present to the Filipino people.

'P. Bear' arrived in Manila straight from the UN climate change meeting in Bali where he drummed up the need for urgent action to save the planet from the serious impacts of global warming.

"The message from the UN Bali meeting last week is clear: all countries must work together and act now to stop this impending global catastrophe. In the Philippines, the government must now walk the talk. Obviously it is not enough for government to merely mouth pretty speeches about saving the climate," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy campaigner Jasper Inventor.

Greenpeace has been repeatedly calling on the Philippine government to ensure the swift passage of the RE bill which has been languishing in Congress for many years now. The passage of the RE Bill will be the country's first important contribution to help combat the grave impacts of climate change which will put the future of  millions of Filipinos at risk. Greenpeace asserts that the RE Bill must additionally contain strong mechanisms and ambitious targets so that it can catalyze the shift away from the country's dependency on fossil fuels and pave the

path for the massive uptake of renewable energy solutions.

Although the call to enact the RE Bill has been echoed by key government officials, including President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself, no definite move has been made to expedite the bill's immediate passage.

Climate scientists have warned that developing countries such as the Philippines are the most at risk from the impacts of climate change. In a recent report, the Philippines topped the list as the country most affected by climate change in 2006, due to extreme weather disasters. Sea level rise due to climate change is also projected to flood more than 1,000 coastal municipalities and cities in the country, including its capital, Manila.

But, while the Philippines' wind energy potential is estimated to meet seven times the country's total energy demand and the country's solar energy potential also possesses one of the highest efficiency ratings in the world, RE technologies such as wind, solar and modern biomass today represent less than 0.2% of the overall Philippine power mix.

"The Philippines must lay down a strong foundation for a sustainable and secure energy future. This requires RE legislation with real ambition and clear targets. Today we are challenging our legislators to go beyond rhetoric and demonstrate with clear actions that they are taking important steps to mainstream genuine climate change solutions. Right now the RE Bill has started moving once again in the Senate and in the Lower House. But the pace at which the RE Bill deliberations will proceed will be the true measure of the government's commitment to safeguarding the country's future," said Inventor.

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