Rainbow Warrior blocks coal shipment in Philippines

Feature story - May 23, 2008
The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior today blocked coal shipments at the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant in Quezon province, 150 kilometers southwest of Manila to protest the impending expansion of the said plant.

Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, anchors alongside MV Medi Firenze which unloads cargo at the Pagbilao coal power plant in Quezon province, around 300 kms south of Manila 23 May 2008. Greenpeace calls on the Philippine government to halt all coal plant projects and coal expansion. Burning coal heavily emits carbon dioxide, one of the major causes of climate change.

Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, anchors alongside MV Medi Firenze which unloads cargo at the Pagbilao coal power plant in Quezon province, around 300 kms south of Manila 23 May 2008. Greenpeace calls on the Philippine government to halt all coal plant projects and coal expansion. Burning coal heavily emits carbon dioxide, one of the major causes of climate change.

Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, anchors alongside MV Medi Firenze which unloads cargo at the Pagbilao coal power plant in Quezon province, around 300 kms south of Manila 23 May 2008. Greenpeace calls on the Philippine government to halt all coal plant projects and coal expansion. Burning coal heavily emits carbon dioxide, one of the major causes of climate change.

Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, anchors alongside MV Medi Firenze which unloads cargo at the Pagbilao coal power plant in Quezon province, around 300 kms south of Manila 23 May 2008. Greenpeace calls on the Philippine government to halt all coal plant projects and coal expansion. Burning coal heavily emits carbon dioxide, one of the major causes of climate change.

Greenpeace activists onboard the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior prepare to block coal shipments at the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant in Quezon province 150 kilometers southwest of Manila. Greenpeace is protesting the impending expansion of the said plant. A giant banner reading "Quit coal" hung at the Rainbow Warrior's masts to drive home the message that the Philippine government should stop building and expanding harmful coal-fired power plants.

A Greenpeace activist onboard the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior hangs a giant banner reading "Quit coal" at the vessel's masts to drive home the message that the Philippine government should stop building and expanding harmful coal-fired power plants. The Rainbow Warrior is blocking coal shipments at the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant in Quezon province, 150 kilometers southwest of Manila. Greenpeace is protesting at the impending expansion of the plant.

A Filipino Greenpeace activist onboard the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior looks on as the vessel blocks coal shipments at the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant in Quezon province, 150 kilometers southwest of Manila. Greenpeace is protesting at the impending expansion of the plant. A giant banner reading "Quit coal" hung at the Rainbow Warrior's masts to drive home the message that the Philippine government should stop building and expanding harmful coal-fired power plants.

A Greenpeace activist onboard the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior looks on as the vessel blocks coal shipments at the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant in Quezon province, 150 kilometers southwest of Manila.Greenpeace is protesting at the impending expansion of the plant. A giant banner reading "Quit coal" hung at the Rainbow Warrior's masts to drive home the message that the Philippine government should stop building and expanding harmful coal-fired power plants.

The Rainbow Warrior anchored alongside the coal ship Medi Firenze unloading a cargo of coal at the Pagbilao plant's loading pier, and prevented a bigger shipment of coal--from the 223 meter vessel Sam John Spirit standing by to unload--from approaching.

A giant banner reading "Quit coal" the Rainbow Warrior's masts to drive home the message that the Philippine government should stop building and expanding harmful coal-fired power plants.

"Being one of the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, the Philippines should address climate change by immediately stopping the expansion and construction of new coal plants. The Philippines already produces 54% more power than it needs. We should invest in improving the power grid rather than expanding a coal plant that reduces our chances of preventing dangerous climate change," said Beau Baconguis, Campaign Manager of Greenpeace Southeast Asia from onboard the Rainbow Warrior.

Burning coal is the single biggest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and a major cause of climate change. Coal emits 29% more carbon per unit of energy than oil and 80% more than gas.  The Philippines, an archipelagic country, composed of more than 7,000 small islands has been identified as the nation most affected by climate impacts in 2006 by the NGO GermanWatch.

But Philippine communities are taking action, realizing that dirty energy is directly responsible for the impacts that ravage their homes and livelihoods. Upon the arrival of the Rainbow Warrior in the Philippines yesterday, the governor of Albay, the Philippine province most ravaged by storms and mudslides in recent memory, immediately declared his province a "no-coal zone".

"The Philippine government should take Albay's declaration as an urgent call to action against climate change. It is untenable to continue our dependence on coal given its increasing price in the market and the environmental impacts attached to it. Coal will actually  exacerbate our energy insecurities," said Jasper Inventor, Climate and Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "The Philippines should send a strong message to ASEAN countries to lead the way in phasing out the use of coal. Greenpeace is also calling on developed countries to provide assistance to developing countries like the Philippines in the fight to stop climate change."

Environment ministers from G8 countries are scheduled to meet from May 24 with climate change on top of their agenda. Greenpeace calls on G8 countries to take real action against climate change, deliver an Energy Revolution that makes coal the fuel of last resort.

The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines to spearhead the Greenpeace "Quit Coal Tour" in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The tour aims to

promote solutions to stop climate change--an energy revolution away from the use of climate-damaging coal, and a massive shift to renewable energy.

Take action!

Take action by spreading the word!

Support us!

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation. We do not accept money from government or corporations. That's why our financial supporters are our lifeblood. You can offer a monthly, annual or one-off gift.