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Green energy advocacy groups push anew for end to coal power

Renewable and green energy advocacy groups Power for People Coalition (P4P) and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) sought the removal of coal in the country’s energy mix, citing its contribution to climate change and devastating typhoons.

In a statement, over the weekend, P4P stressed the need to ban the use of coal due to its high carbon emissions and pollution.

“We have been making this call for years. We’ve heard President Duterte commit to more renewable energy in his SONA. We heard the DOE say they want renewable energy. We even heard DOE say they want a coal moratorium,” P4P convenor Gerry Arances said.

“But all that has happened so far is the proliferation of coal. And now we had a succession of devastating typhoons which has pushed our country’s and people’s resilience to the limit. We must move to end coal and limit its effect on climate change, and do it now.”

Late in October, the Department of Energy issued a declaration that suspended the issuance of endorsements of new coal-fired power plants as the country furthers its focus on the “entry of new, cleaner, and indigenous technological innovations.”

With this, the P4P called for the eventual removal of coal through the decommissioning process for existing coal-fired power plants.

“While PMCJ acknowledges the coal moratorium as unprecedented in DOE’s energy policy, we are not given assurance that all 13.8 GW composed of 23 coal plants in the pipeline will not be constructed,” said Ian Rivera, National coordinator of PMCJ.

“With the recent devastation caused by a series of five typhoons, DOE must now move to cancel these projects and declare the phaseout period not later than 2030 of the existing 9.88 GW of coal. We are now in a climate emergency. All these plants must be stopped and replaced with clean, affordable renewables," Rivera said.

For his part, Fr. Warren Puno, convenor of Quezon wide environmental group Quezon for Environment (QUEEN) and Director of the Ministry of Ecology of the Diocese of Lucena said the province has long “suffered the presence of coal power plants in the name of progress.”

“But we do not benefit from these plants. All we got are sick residents, a ruined environment, and higher risks of destructive typhoons," Puno said.

Quezon province, which was recently devastated by Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses, is currently home to three operating coal-fired power plants with an installed capacity of 2.2 GW.

The green energy advocates have long called for an end to the use of coal over the years, citing its emission and pollution which drives climate change. — DVM, GMA News