ASEAN should Quit Coal to avoid climate catastrophe

Press release - June 25, 2009
Greenpeace today called upon the ASEAN countries to urgently phase out coal fired power plants and invest in renewable energy to avert a climate catastrophe, at the close of the 7th ASEAN Forum on Coal in Bali. Greenpeace activists unfurled a banner reading “Quit Coal” at the entrance of Padma Hotel in Legian during the closing ceremony.

Greenpeace activists unfurled a banner reading “Quit Coal” at the entrance of Padma Hotel in Legian during the closing ceremony of the 7th ASEAN Forum on Coal. Greenpeace is calling on the ASEAN countries to urgently phase out coal fired power plants and invest in renewable energy to avert a climate catastrophe.

"ASEAN's continuing dependence on coal binds the region to a future of runaway climate change, with impacts such as drought, flooding and famine from reduced agricultural yields which threaten hundreds of millions of the region's people. Rather than meeting to talk about extending the use of coal, ASEAN should be agreeing plans to phase out coal and to transition to a low carbon economy," said Arif Fiyanto, Climate and Energy campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Recent reports by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia Southeast Asia (EEPSEA) identify the Southeast Asian region as one of the most vulnerable to climate change. The ADB estimates that the region will be losing between six and seven percent of its income to climate impacts annually by the end of the century if it does not take action to address climate change. In addition to the climate and economic costs of coal, Indonesia was reminded of the human costs with last week's disaster in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra, which claimed the lives of 31 miners.

CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuels account for more than half of all current greenhouse gas emissions and their share will increase by 2050 if no action is taken. ASEAN countries need to rethink their strategies on the way they use, produce, store and distribute energy that substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

ASEAN member countries have abundant renewable energy resources, which should be urgently developed. For instance, Indonesia has one of the world's largest stores of untapped geothermal energy and there are plans to supply 9.5 gigawatts of energy from this source by 2025. However, currently less than five percent of the nation's geothermal resources are being harnessed. Greenpeace urges the Indonesian Government and ASEAN to increase targets for renewable energy, notably geothermal, wind, solar PV and micro-hydro as well as improving the laws and regulations, which have been the biggest impediments to investment in renewable energy.

The Philippines Government enacted the Renewable Energy (RE) Law at the end of 2008 to move the country towards a clean energy future, which will bring economic benefits whilst cutting the country's carbon emissions.

"The only solution that will steer us away from climate catastrophe and give us a future we can look forward to is the large uptake of renewable energy, phase-out of coal and scrapping of nuclear plans, combined with the implementation of large-scale energy efficiency programmes. ASEAN member countries need to show that the region is serious about addressing climate change, in time for the critical Copenhagen climate talks in December this year." concluded Fiyanto.

Other contacts: Arif Fiyanto, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate & Energy campaigner, +62 813 8323 1803 Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media campaigner, +62 818 930 271