Greenpeace to NEPO: Dump Coal, Switch to clean energy now!

Press release - March 2, 2001
Greenpeace today delivered a message to National Energy Policy Office (NEPO) asking the agency to help abandon Thailand's plans to build coal plants and instead switch to clean energy sources. The action forms part of a global demonstration aimed at the environmental ministers of the G8 governments[1] currently meeting in Trieste, Italy calling for immediate action to protect the climate. Activists from 14 different countries demonstrating against ongoing climate destruction and the indifference of governments, held up the letters which together read CLEAN ENERGY NOW.

Greenpeace today delivered a message to National Energy Policy Office (NEPO) asking the agency to help abandon Thailand's plans to build coal plants and instead switch to clean energy sources. The action forms part of a global demonstration aimed at the environmental ministers of the G8 governments[1] currently meeting in Trieste, Italy calling for immediate action to protect the climate. Activists from 14 different countries demonstrating against ongoing climate destruction and the indifference of governments, held up the letters which together read CLEAN ENERGY NOW.

"It's a simple message - governments must sit down now and agree to save the climate." Said Dr. Jiragorn Gajaseni, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director. "In the face of indisputable scientific evidence of climate change and its growing impacts, the indifference of governments is condemning millions of people to increased suffering from floods and storms and economic ruin", he said.

In January, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that current rates of human-induced climate change:

Risk large scale and irreversible impacts, such as the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the shutting down of the Gulf Stream, and massive releases of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost and dying forests;

Will have severe impacts on a regional level. For instance, megacities and densely populated areas along the Pacific and Indian Ocean coastlines will be caught between the threats of sea-level rise and river flooding from increased upstream precipitation;

Will increase extreme events in temperate and tropical Asia, including floods, droughts, forest fires and tropical cyclones;

And will have the greatest impacts on those least able to protect themselves from rising sea levels, increase in disease and decrease in agricultural production in the developing countries in Africa and Asia.

"These scientific findings confirm our worst fear that developing countries like Thailand will be most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change especially in terms of loss of life and relative effects on investment and the economy," Dr. Jiragorn stressed.

"We are facing a climate emergency and it is time to embrace solutions - a switch away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency," added Penrapee Noparumpa, Greenpeace SEA's Energy Campaigner. "The country's energy pipeline that includes construction of several large-scale, carbon-intensive coal-fired power plants must be abandoned for the sake of the global climate and of local communities' survival, " she stressed.

Greenpeace blames industrialised governments for failing to come up with first steps towards solutions when the climate talks collapsed in The Hague last November[2]. "If governments- especially US under President Bush - continue to act irresponsibly then people from rich countries will need to build ever higher and wider dikes, from where they can watch the rest of the world suffer and drown from climate change. Either that or policy makers must act to expand access to clean energy and energy efficiency" added Dr. Jiragorn.

Notes: 1 G8 Countries include Japan, US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Russia and Italy. 2 Greenpeace is actively involved in the campaign to urge governments to adopt environmentally sound rules for the Kyoto Protocol at the resumed COP6bis this July. Greenpeace is asking G8 governments to agree on a timetable for the ratification of the Protocol that would secure its entry into force by the time of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio +10) in Johannesburg in the summer of 2002.

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