COAL IS NOT THE ANSWER SHIFT to RENEWABLE ENERGY NOW!

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Several years ago, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice has been calling for urgent actions to limit the increase in the average temperature of the earth to below one degree Celsius (from pre-industrialization level). Today, the increase in temperature is already nearly one degree and scientists are now saying that this is no longer physically possible to keep it from reaching one degree. At nearly one degree increase we are already seeing hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions losing livelihoods and homes, the exacerbation of hunger for billions. What more will a 3-degree temperature rise entail? It will be an unimaginable world.

As the world is facing a precarious climate situation, the Philippines, of most countries, lies at the crossroads. Being one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to the climate change impacts, the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events like Yolanda (Haiyan) and Habagat, the prolonged and more frequent El Nino phenomenon clearly demonstrate the increased risks and devastations the Filipino people has suffered. We know that at the core of this climate crisis is the continued burning of fossil fuel, particularly coal. It has engender an unprecedented rise of global average temperature, which if this is pursued business as usual will place our country in an even riskier circumstance.

However, the Philippines is one of the countries that still rely on coal to fuel development and industrialization. Despite the current trend of developed countries shifting to renewable energy to balance national growth and climate, the many coal energy companies going bankrupt because countries are shifting to RE, the mainstreaming and increasing renewable energy portfolio our country is now enjoying, the Philippine government still cannot readily depart from the dirty, harmful coal. Our country possesses a vast potential of renewable energy in the country which could go as high as more than 200,000 MW. There are already existing relevant laws like the Renewable Energy Law of 2008 and Climate Change Law 2009 that could have propelled our transition to renewable energy. It is distressful to learn that according to DOE, the country will have over 5,000 megawatts (MW) of additional power generation capacity from 49 power projects that the private sector has committed for commercial operation from 2015 – 2019. We believe that if all of this 49 coal plants will operate by 2019, if will further shift the energy mix to more than 70% in favor of coal. PMCJ finds this dangerous since it will exacerbate the climate crisis, it will contradict with the Philippines’ commitment of 70 percent carbon emission reduction by 2030, it will destabilize energy security in the future since the science will not allow for more burning of coal. Why is this so?

In a recent study led by the Harvard University looking at the possible health impacts of the existing and expansion of coal plants across the country, they have found that it will kill more than 2,700 Filipinos from affective communities every year due to toxicity and pollution coming from these power plants. It is a known fact that coal is not only a climate buster energy source but also the dirtiest and deadliest energy source globally. Would the current Duterte administration allow innocent lives lost due to coal dependence?

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