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Groups ask DOE to stop new coal plants

/ 04:56 AM November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly 60 environmental groups and religious organizations appealed to the Department of Energy (DOE) to stop new coal projects from entering the country’s power generation mix by issuing a moratorium on all present and future coal projects in the country.

While they welcomed the DOE’s recent pronouncement on the moratorium on endorsements for new greenfield coal-fired power plants, the groups under the Power for People Coalition (P4P) also called for a moratorium that would include a clear coverage of all coal projects, including the 23 coal-fired plants already in the pipeline.

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In a letter to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, P4P urged the energy department to turn away from fossil fuels, amid the devastation caused by the strong typhoons that hit the country this month.

“While we are facing the consequences of years of climate inaction and unaccountability, it’s not too late to prevent a turn for the worse,” it said.

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Signatories included the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Health Care Without Harm, Nuclear Free Bataan Movement, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) and the World Wide Fund-Philippines.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action and the dioceses of Gumaca, Tandag and San Carlos, also joined the call.

P4P said the DOE had the power to revoke the endorsements for some 13.8 gigawatts of coal already in the pipeline.

“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,” the groups said.

In particular, the groups called for the revocation of the certificates of endorsement for nine coal projects in the pipeline, such as those in the provinces of Bataan, Zambales, Quezon, Palawan and Misamis Occidental.

Last month, environment groups and renewable energy advocates welcomed DOE’s coal moratorium, saying that it signaled a “not-so-distant” possibility of Asia’s shift away from fossil fuels.

Southeast Asia remains the hotbed of coal use globally, even as the rest of the world had begun its transition toward renewable energy. In the Philippines, 28 coal-fired power plants are currently in operation.

“We are now in a climate emergency,” Ian Rivera, PMCJ national coordinator, said in a statement. “DOE must now move to cancel these projects and declare the phaseout period not later than 2030 of the existing 9.8 gigawatt of coal [in the country].”

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TAGS: CBCP, CEED, coal plants, DoE, FDC, NGOs
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