Aquino urged to stop pushing coal power plants
MANILA, Philippines —A civil society network advocating for reforms to help the country adapt to climate change expressed dismay on Tuesday, over the Aquino administration’s push for coal-fired power plants, and renewed its call on government to tap cleaner and less wasteful sources of energy.
Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, in a statement, said it was disappointed with the apparent priority given to coal by government in supplying the country’s energy needs.
“We are dismayed to see the government’s renewable energy plans go to waste in favor of dirty and harmful energy. Our message is simple: Coal will cost us the climate, which in turn will cost all of us our lives and livelihoods,” Voltaire Alferez, national coordinator of Aksyon Klima, said.
“It looks cheaper in the short term compared to renewable energy, but our lives and our environment are much more costly,” he said.
Aksyon Klima noted that the Renewable Energy Law was passed in 2008, and the government later on followed it up with the National Renewable Energy Plan in 2010 seeking to triple the renewable energy capacity of the country by 2030.
Moreover, Aquino signed in 2011 the National Climate Change Action Plan, which identified sustainable energy as a priority, it said.
“However, Aquino has defended the building of more coal-fired power plants in his last State of the Nation Address by citing the limitations of renewable energy,” the group said.
In addition, the Philippine Development Plan prioritizes coal-fired power plants in the next several years of this administration, affirming the president’s SONA pronouncement, it added.
“Renewable energy technologies continue to improve while the costs continue to decrease,” Alferez said.
“In the meantime, the sea continues to warm and rise, while typhoons are becoming more frequent and intense because of the burning of coal and other fossil fuels. [Mr. Aquino] has more than enough reasons to invest in renewable energy, but has yet to step up his game,” he said.
Forty-three percent of carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion were produced from coal in 2010, compared to 36 percent from oil and 20 percent from gas, according to a 2012 publication of the International Energy Agency.
On the other hand, a 2011 United States study estimated that the economic, health-related, environmental, and other impacts of coal cost the United States a third to over one-half a trillion dollars annually.
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