Environmental groups dare presidential bets to bare stand on ‘dirty energy’

Organizations advocating environment challenged presidential aspirants to disclose their position to coal as energy source at a forum in Quezon City yesterday.

“The presidential candidates have not yet disclosed a clear stance on the proposed coal-fired power plants,” Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Sanlakas secretary-general, said in Filipino.

The Aquino administration has approved the construction of 59 new coal plants in different parts the country, with 118 coal mining permits, he noted.

As long as the presidential hopefuls reveal no definite position to the plan, the next President will be perceived to generate more ‘dirty energy,’ Pedrosa said.

The proposed new plants will not only make the country more dependent on coal, it will also hamper its transition to renewable energy, he pointed out.

“The lifetime of one coal plant is a quarter of century,” Pedrosa said.

Climate change will get worse if more will be set up and operated, he added.

In a statement, Pedrosa cited Batangas, Cebu and Ozamis as three of the provinces proposed to host the new plants.

“The Renewable Energy Act of 2009 has explicitly mandated energy transformation, supposedly increasing the share of renewable energy in the power mix from 34 percent in 2009,” Gerry Arances, Center for Energy, Ecology and Development executive director said.

At present, however, renewable energy mix decreased by five percent, he added.

Based on this, the country’s dependence on coal will grow from 39 percent to 50 percent in 2021,Arances noted.

“Renewable energy will drastically drop down to 24 percent in the same year,” he said.

The next President should reduce the country’s carbon emission in energy generation, stop the proposed coal plants, and transition the power industry to renewable energy, said Rodney Galicha, Philippine District Manager for The Climate Reality Project.

In a statement, the signatories said that in 2015, “based on the International Energy Agency (IEA) data, 90 percent of new electricity generated globally came from renewable energy sources,” like sun, water, and wind.

Said growth amounted to a “record-breaking US$328.9 billion.” (Oliver Samson)

In photo. Signatories of the anti-coal challenge to candidates for 2016 presidential election yell “end coal” at Max’s Restaurant in Quezon Memorial Circle. (Oliver Samson)

 

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