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Green energy advocates warn: Coal fuels disasters

SUSTAINABLE energy advocates led by the Power for People Coalition (P4P), and coal-affected communities on Tuesday called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to use its declared coal moratorium to decommission all coal-fired power plants to avoid even worse typhoons from ravaging the Philippines.

The statement was made in an online press conference in which the groups called for accountability from government for its role in the worsening the climate emergency.

“Coal fuels disasters. It’s plain and simple. So long as we burn coal, its greenhouse gas emissions will continue to heat the Earth and produce typhoons like Rolly and Ulysses, only much stronger and more frequently. It’s already too late to reverse the current trend of typhoons, but it’s not too late to stop the trend from becoming worse,” said Gerry Arances, P4P Convenor.

He noted that coal is the Philippines’ biggest source of electricity due to the “technologically neutral” stance of the DOE, which encouraged the construction of more coal power plants in the country, bucking a trend among advanced countries to stop further reliance on coal.

“The coal moratorium is DOE’s way of covering for its failures, bad planning, and its role in causing the reprehensible electricity rate of the country, which today is one of the most expensive in Asia,” said Ian Rivera, national coordinator of PMCJ.

“DOE finally succumbs to the truth of market signals, the global trends of waning financial viability of coal, the strong drive of renewables, and the stranding of coal plants in Mindanao with an excess in baseload in the island which DOE already needs to transport to Visayas and Luzon,” Rivera added.

P4P is planning to hold another National Day of Action Against Coal (NDA) to demand that the DOE use the coal moratorium to permanently prohibit the issuance of any new Certificates of Endorsements for coal projects in the pipeline.

They want the DOE to eventually revoke and decommission even existing coal plants.

A capacity of 9.88 GW coal is currently installed in the country, a number that would see a 140% increase if all projects currently in the pipeline go online.

“No amount of economic growth can compensate for the damage that the climate emergency can bring,”Arances said.

The poor are the ones who bear the brunt of the consequences, he said, with their flooded towns and destroyed lives.