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Communities, green groups ask DOE for clean energy sources

CLEAN energy advocates and coal-affected communities under the banner of the Power for People Coalition (P4P) on Wednesday urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to use its announced moratorium on new coal plants to clear out the Philippines’ coal pipeline and make way for a swift transition to clean energy sources as an appropriate response to the worsening climate crisis.

In a letter request filed at the DOE head office, the groups ask the department to issue an updated list of generation companies that have been endorsed as of October 27; a written moratorium order on endorsements to all pipeline coal projects; and a written order revoking endorsements already issued to pipeline coal projects.

Referring to the recent devastation caused by a series of tropical storms in the country, the letter said that “While we are facing the consequences of years of climate inaction and unaccountability, it is not too late to prevent a turn for the worse. This is why communities resisting proposed coal projects in their hometowns and the Power for People Coalition celebrate your Honorable Office’s announcement of a moratorium on endorsements for greenfield coal power plants.”

In recent years, coal has been under fire globally for being the single biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions that trigger climate change, with advanced nations and major international companies already taking strides to abandon coal.

“We have said over and over that coal fuels disasters, and for once, the DOE has made an effort to stop shoving in more coal into the climate furnace. This is a first step, and P4P and the communities that have been suffering from coal for so long would see to it that the DOE stays on the right path. This moratorium must block off no less than all coal projects in the national pipeline, and herald the beginning of the country’s coal phaseout,” said Gerry Arances, Convenor of P4P.

As a written order detailing the implementation of the moratorium has yet to be released, P4P called on DOE to craft it in a way that best favors the environment and people most affected by impacts of rising global temperatures.

“Nature doesn’t read PR statements. It doesn’t care about technical details. It follows physical laws – more pollution, more damage,” said Aaron Pedrosa, Secretary General of Sanlakas and Energy Working Group Head of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

The letter was filed by P4P on behalf of 59 community organizations, faith-based groups, and civil society groups across the Philippines just two days ahead of the National Day of Action Against Coal being led by the group.

“While we welcome the coal moratorium, it is also already extremely belated as it emerges against the backdrop of a worsening climate emergency and an ongoing health and economic crisis. Thus, a lackluster implementation of the moratorium against coal is not an option. This policy must allow no new coal from entering our power mix and stop all 13.8 GW of coal in the pipeline in its tracks,” the letter said.