Group bucks new coal-fired plants
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - At least 45 new coal-fired power plants will become operational in the Philippines beginning in the next five to six years, a development that would increase the Philippines’ carbon dioxide emissions by a range of 64.4 to 79.8 million metric tons a year.

According to the environmental group Greenpeace, increasing our CO2 emissions would greatly damage the Philippines’ credibility in fighting for a good climate change treaty.

It said that the Aquino Administration’s reliance on coal-fired power plants puts the country’s climate at risk, which in turn could cost the economy, according to a report on coal’s impact on climate change in the Philippines.

The report, True Cost of Coal Volume 2: Costs of Climate Change in the Philippines, released by the environment group Greenpeace last week, said Super Typhoon Yolanda shows extreme climate change developments caused by pollutants including coal emissions.

“While we cannot prevent super typhoons from entering the country, we can address what causes these storms to be stronger and more frequent, and we tag coal as the culprit- the main driver of climate change,” said Reuben Andrew Muni, Philippine Climate and Energy campaigner from Greenpeace Southeast Asia. 

The group said that worldwide, coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, which cause global warming.

“In 2011, globally, coal was responsible for 44 percent of carbon emissions from fuel – a higher percentage than oil (35 percent) or natural gas (20 percent). This makes coal energy the single greatest threat facing our climate,” the group said.

“As global temperatures continue to rise, the waters surrounding the Philippines will continue to get warmer and could trigger more tropical cyclones and causing sea levels to rise,” said Lourdes Tibig, Climate Specialist and one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Furthermore, the group said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) would also suffer.

The report estimated that without expanded climate change mitigation or adaptation, the Philippines could suffer a mean loss of 2.2 percent of GDP by 2100 on an annual basis, considering only market impact on agriculture and coastal zones.              

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