Climate justice activists protest planned financing of new coal-powered plant
Climate justice activists, composed of civil society groups and people’s organizations, held a rally Thursday at the Ayala Triangle in Makati City to protest the planned financing of a new coal-powered power plant in Atimonan, Quezon.
The rally was held in front of the Philippine Stock Exchange building where many commercial banks are listed as coal project investors.
The protest action is part of Piglas Pilipinas, a nationwide campaign for the Philippines to break free from fossil fuels. Its main call stressed on the importance and urgency of divesting from coal and other fossil fuels.
“Coal is not the answer to our country’s energy needs,” said Philippine Movement for Climate Justice Coordinator Ian Rivera.
“Contrary to the coal industry’s persisting propaganda, coal is neither cheap nor clean. In fact, it has time and again been proven to be dirty, costly, and deadly,” said Rivera.
“The burning of fossil fuels, coal being the worst of them, is the lead contributor to carbon emissions that aggravate global warming, which we know to be the primary cause of stronger typhoons, longer droughts all over the planet, and other forms of ecological disasters,” he said.
“Coal is, most of all, expensive – with most of its costs externalized and paid for by society at large,” said Rivera, citing huge economic losses from the environmental, health and livelihood destruction caused by the extraction and utilization of coal for power generation, and the establishment and maintenance of coal facilities.
Rivera stated that the coal industry is now being outstripped by new technologies that make cheaper solar and wind power, citing a renewable energy sector that continues to drive down its prices.
“Clean and sustainable energy sources are steadily making the continued usage of coal not only an obsolete choice, but also an inexpedient one,” said Rivera.
The protest at the Makati central business district is part of the Reclaim Power Global Wave of Actions for a just energy transformation for the entire month of October.
“The science of climate change is unequivocal, it’s undeniable, and so now, action to transform our energy system is urgent and must be done immediately,” said Asian Peoples’ Movement of Debt and Development (APMDD) Coordinator Lidy Nacpil.
“Reclaim Power is about demonstrating that while the current energy system fails on so many levels, including its failure to resolve the energy poverty of 1.2 billion people in the world who continue to have no access to any electricity, we have solutions using renewable energy technology that can decentralize power production and actually get it to all people in a democratic, people-controlled way,” explained Nacpil.
“We need to ensure community and public control of our energy systems, to ensure that people’s access is prioritized over profit,” concurred 350.org Digital Communications Campaigner and Coordinator Chuck Baclagon.
“The technology to provide energy to all of humanity without burning the planet already exists. Instead of continuously giving handouts to dirty energy companies, what we need now is to direct public – and private – finance and subsidies to encourage 100% renewable and clean energy,” Baclagon concluded. asu
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