'QUIT COAL' : Greenpeace targets incoming coal shipment at Pagbilao coal plant

Activists from Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, paint "Quit Coal" on the hull of 223-meter ship MV Sam John Spirit standing by to unload its cargo at the Pagbilao coal power plant in Quezon province, around 300 kms south of Manila 24 May 2008. Greenpeace calls on the Philippine government to halt all coal plant projects and coal expansion. Burning coal heavily emits carbon dioxide, one of the major causes of climate change.

Greenpeace activists aboard Rainbow Warrior, anchored alongside Pagbilao coal plant, painted the words 'Quit Coal' on the hull of a 223 meter vessel 'Sam John Spirit' standing by to unload yet another shipment of thousands of tons of coal at Pagbilao power plant in the Philippines. The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines on its 'Quit Coal-Save the Climate' tour of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
The Rainbow Warrior has anchored alongside the said coal-fired power plant since yesterday to expose how coal causes climate change and to send a message that the Philippines should stop building and expanding harmful coal-fired power plants. The Pagbilao coal plant is one of nine currently in the government's pipeline for either expansion or construction.

The Greenpeace ship's anchorage was in no way impeding the unloading of coal currently ongoing at the plant's wharf, or preventing the plant's generating operations. The plant itself currently has enough stockpile to run uninterrupted for around a month. The activists painted a third coal shipment, Sam John Spirit, at anchor some four kilometers from the wharf. Greenpeace is sending a message that coal expansion should stop because of coal’s huge environmental costs.

"Enough is enough, there should be no more construction or expansion of coal fired power plants in the Philippines. We cannot allow our short-sighted government to burn our future. Pagbilao coal plant alone dumps as much as five million tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. The more coal we burn, the lesser our chances are of effectively combating the climate change catastrophe," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaign Manager Beau Baconguis onboad the Rainbow Warrior.

There are currently eight coal-fired power plants in the Philippines, with a total capacity of 4,177 MW, or about 26.1% of the country's installed capacity. Together, the coal plants already account for as much as 36% of the emissions from the energy sector.

However, the government currently has at least nine coal-fired plants lined up for construction or expansion in the country: the 300 MW expansion in Pagbilao, Quezon, 100 MW in Concepcion, Iloilo, 165 MW in Iloilo City, 200 MW each in Naga and Toledo Cities in Cebu, 300 MW expansion in Masinloc, Zambales, 300 MW in Olongapo, Zambales, 150 MW in Sultan Kudarat, and 200 MW in Saranggani.

"Clearly the national government is not serious about addressing climate change. You can't stop a problem by abetting the cause," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner Jasper Inventor. "If the government wants to do right, the first thing on their list would be to quit coal and ensure there will be no more new coal construction and expansion. The government must then start phasing out of this dirty and dangerous power source while increasingly tapping clean, safe, renewable energy. Renewable energy sources are abundant in our country, the only thing we need more of is the political will to deploy them," he added.

The energy sector is responsible for some two-thirds of world's climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions. Coal-fired power plants are
the biggest offenders. Coal is the dirtiest, most carbon intensive of all fossil fuels. Coal emits 29% more carbon per unit of energy than oil and 80% more than gas. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main driver of climate change, representing a major portion o the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, coal accounts for almost 60% of carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector.

Environment ministers from G8 countries are scheduled to meet today with climate change on top of their agenda. Greenpeace is also calling on G8 countries to take real action against climate change, and deliver an Energy Revolution that makes coal the fuel of last resort.

The ship's first port of call was Legazpi City, Albay, where the Governor of Albay declared the province a "no-coal zone" during a press conference onboard the vessel.

The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines to spearhead the Greenpeace "Quit Coal Tour" in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The tour aims to promote solutions to stop climate change--an energy revolution away from the use of climate-damaging coal, and a massive shift to renewable energy.

e-mail:: greenpeacephilippines@gmail.com homepage:: http://www.greenpeace.org.ph

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