Filipino youngsters join Greenpeace Clean Energy Youth Camp in Germany

100% Renewables for Negros a case study

Press release - June 2, 2004
Two Filipino youth representatives left the country on Saturday to join environmental group Greenpeace in a series of activities at the biggest gathering of clean energy advocates dubbed Bonn 2004 Conference on Renewable Energies.

Bonn, Germany, 31 May 2004 - Two Filipino youth representatives left the country on Saturday to join environmental group Greenpeace in a series of activities at the biggest gathering of clean energy advocates dubbed Bonn 2004 Conference on Renewable Energies.

The Bonn conference seeks to prepare the groundwork for the global expansion of renewable energies as a direct response to the challenges in sustainable development such as access to energy for the poor and the protection of the climate. It is organized by German Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Greenpeace is calling upon all world leaders to agree to adopt a commitment of 20% of each country's primary energy mix to be sourced from new and renewable sources by 2020.

"We are going to Bonn in unison with other international youth delegates to deliver a strong message to our governments that we only want a clean sustainable energy future for us and our children", said 15-year old Rachel Garcia who hails from Negros Occidental. "I am bringing the case of the people from my province who are seeking independence from fossil fuels and working to pave the way for renewables based on wind, biomass and solar to the public and politicians here in Germany."

The Greenpeace international solar generation camp has delegates from more than 10 countries and joined by hundreds of youth groups from Germany. They will be conducting several public events inside and outside the conference to get the youth demands on clean energy incorporated in the conference outcomes.

"Climate change is a real threat to us especially because the Philippines is a developing country, one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and yet are least able to cope. This, to me, is the urgent reason why we should embrace only clean energy options", said 24-year old Abigail Jabines.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), an intergovernmental scientific body tasked to look into the science and potential impacts of climate change, has warned governments that an immediate reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), has to happen soon in order to stop the dangers of climate change.

"Climate change is occurring because we use fossil fuels - oil, coal and gas. When these fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide (CO2), a so called 'greenhouse gas' that causes the Earth to warm. We need to halt dependence on fossil fuels and shift to renewable energy resources. They do not pollute, they do not run out and they are cost-effective, " said Athena.. who is also in Bonn with the youth delegates.

"There are now clear examples of what could be a prelude to the worst consequences of climate change in our lifetime. The big drought and then the huge floods in Europe, the increased severity and frequency of typhoons in Asia, the continued increase in natural and man-made disasters and the resulting loss in life and property -- are not fiction - they actually happened.

The Philippines, being an archipelago is vulnerable to the rising of the seas. Scientists predict that total increases in sea levels in the 21st century may go to as high as 86 cm which seems small until one learns that increases of as little as 39 cm can normally cause the retreat of shorline by 30m." she added.

"Renewable energy technologies and industries are on the brink of a revolution. The Asian region has an abundance of never-ending renewable energy resources - sun and wind - and all we need is political support.

"The Green Renewable Independent Power Producer, a private public partnership, which is pushing for a 100% renewable energy source for Negros is being promoted and showcased by Greenpeace in this conference. Furtheremore, GRIPP - the reason for the renewable revolution in Negros, is being endorsed by Greenpeace as a renewable energy model for Southeast Asia and is brought to Bonn to ask for support from renewable energy investors and financiers," said Ballesteros.

"In Pulupandan, one of the towns in Negros, and a former site of a proposed coal plant, a new revolution is occurring with the local community working hand in hand with Greenpeace and other NGOs in pursuing the first ever wind farm in my province. This is what our future should be," added Garcia.

Garcia and Jabines are seeking an audience with the Philippine government delegation to Bonn led by Secretary Vince Perez and other DOE officials.

"I believe that the Philippines has the opportunity to leapfrog into the renewables age and abandon the obsolete fossil fuel age. Development based on clean energy technologies not only meets climate objectives but also contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable development," said Abigail Jabines.