Greenpeace locks down BLCP to prevent unloading of Australian coal into Thailand

Press release - September 7, 2006
Greenpeace activists this morning shut down the port of the controversial BLCP coal plant to prevent the unloading of Australian coal into Thailand. Amidst heavy police and stick-wielding BLCP personnel presence, activists chained themselves at bumpers of the dock and hung banners that read "Coal = Climate Change, Clean Energy Now".

A 170,000-tonne carrier, MV Star Europe, is expected to arrive in Maptaphut at 12 PM today carrying a large supply of coal from Newcastle. With the cranes immobilized, however, the ship will not be able to transfer coal into the BLCP coal power plant. The coal plant, jointly owned by Banpu and Hong-Kong based China Light and Power Corp, is scheduled for its grand opening next month. BLCP is a classic example of dirty international financing by the likes of Asian Development Bank and Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

"The BLCP coal plant will exacerbate the impacts of climate change, which is already starting to exact a heavy toll on the people and economies of Thailand and Southeast Asia.  It does not help that Australia is fuelling climate change in the region with its coal  exports," said Tara Buakamsri of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Thailand must stop any further use of coal and put a policy in place for the massive increase of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects."

The 1,434 MW BLCP coal plant will release nearly 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, and once in operation this plant alone will cause Thailand's carbon emissions to rise by almost 6% a year according to Greenpeace projections. Coal is the dirtiest of fossil fuels, emitting 29 percent more carbon per unit of energy than oil and 80 percent more than gas, and contributing significantly to climate change.

The impacts of climate change continue to increase in severity and  frequency.  Extreme weather events such as droughts and storms, for instance, increasingly threaten to empty the coffers of economies in Southeast Asia. Scientific reports indicate that the economies of Thailand and the Philippines have already lost around USD 1.75 billion and USD 83 million, respectively, due to extreme weather events induced by climate change (1).

"Coal and coal-fired power stations have been strongly opposed by communities in the region. However, the Australian government refuses to take action on global warming while ignoring climate impacts on its own citizens and other countries in Asia. The whole region will be further threatened by the increase of investments in coal power plants across Asia many of which will rely on the supply of Australian coal." said Catherine Fitzpatrick, Climate & Energy Campaigner from Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

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 Catherine Fitzpatrick, Climate & Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, +61-408-487-155 Arthur Jones Dionio, Regional Media Campaigner, +63 921 5615305

VVPR info: Photo and video available upon request.

Notes: 1) Scientific publications authored by Dr Kansri Boonprakob (Thailand) and Dr Leoncio Amadore (Philippines) are available for download at http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/en/press/reports