Coal dumped at Thai "Ministry of Climate Change" Greenpeace calls on ASEM to end support for coal

Greenpeace urges ASEM to stop investments in fossil fuels

Press release - September 8, 2006
Greenpeace activists today dumped coal on the doorstep of Thailand's Ministry of Energy in protest against energy policies that promote the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, one of the primary causes of climate change. Activists also unfurled a "Ministry of Climate Change" banner, accusing the Government of helping to intensify the impacts of climate change.

"The impacts of climate change are already affecting the people and economies of Thailand and Southeast Asia. But instead of grasping the urgency and promoting solutions, the Ministry of Energy is going in the opposite direction by allowing the expansion of coal projects, such as the newly-built BLCP coal power plant.  Other culprits of these policies are international funding institutions  like the Asian Development Bank and Japan Bank for International Cooperation, which blatantly disregard the negative impacts of their  dirty projects across Asia," said Tara Buakamsri of Greenpeace  Southeast Asia.

Yesterday amidst heavy police presence and BLCP personnel carrying sticks, Greenpeace shut down the port of the controversial BLCP coal  plant to prevent the 170,000-tonne carrier, MV Star Europe, from  unloading its Australian coal cargo into Thailand. The controversial BLCP coal plant is expected to emit 22.4 million  tons of carbon dioxide over the next 20 years, contributing significantly to climate change. In addition, the external cost of a power station includes the impacts on human health, building  materials, food crops, amenity loss and the ecosystems due to the atmospheric and sewage release from the power stations based on studies by the European Commission. Using the EU calculation method,  BLCP's external costs will amount to Bt65,066,720,000  (aroundUS$1,626,668,000) per year.

"These huge external costs are hidden behind that dirty smoke, subsidized by the ADB, JBIC and the Thai Government -- meaning, by the Thai people," said Tara. "As leaders converge in Finland for the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) it will be beneficial that governments decisively stop the expansion and funding of fossil projects across Asia and Europe and invest in renewables to curb climate change."

Leaders of state and ministers are meeting this week for the sixth ASEM, which has acknowledged the importance of climate change and is at the top of the agenda.

"Now leaders of Europe and Asia must recognize that unless they stop European and Asian Governments from financing dirty energy sources  such as the BLCP coal plant in Thailand, they are responsible for  fuelling the effects of dangerous climate change and sending Asia deeper into its addiction to fossil fuels. Finance must now be invested into clean energy systems such as solar and wind," said Athena Ronquillo-Ballesteros, head of the Greenpeace International delegation at ASEM.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions, which are essential to a green

and peaceful future. 

Other contacts: Tara Buakamsri, Climate & Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +661 8550013 Athena Ronquillo-Ballesteros, Greenpeace International Energy Campaigner, +63 917 8131562 Ua-phan Chamnan-ua, Media Campaigner, +661 9282426

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