Press Release
May 28, 2008

Pia backs Greenpeace's 'Quit Coal!' campaign:
"Shift towards renewable energy, reduce dependence on dirty coal"

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today urged the Arroyo government to immediately adopt a national energy program that would harness the massive renewable energy potentials of the country while reducing its dependence on dirty energy resources particularly coal.

Cayetano has filed Senate Resolution No.420, which directs the Upper Chamber's committees on energy and environment and natural resources to inquire, in aid of legislation, on the impacts of coal-fired power plants to the environment.

The resolution also calls for the adoption of a national energy program promoting a shift towards renewable energy while seeking a moratorium on the construction and expansion of coal-fired power plants.

Cayetano is supporting the "Quit Coal!" tour in the Philippines of the "Rainbow Warrior," the world-renowned flagship of the international environment advocacy group, Greenpeace. The tour aims to promote an energy revolution in Southeast Asia and the Pacific to stop climate change, which includes phasing out the use of climate-damaging coal and a massive uptake of renewable energy.

"I am one with Greenpeace in aiming for a coal-free Philippines. The threat of climate change demands a shift towards a sustainable, clean and low carbon future. Government should lay out concrete plans for implementing clean energy solutions in the power sector," said the lady senator, Chairperson of the Senate of the Committee on Natural Resources and principal sponsor of the proposed Renewable Energy Act.

Coal is the most plentiful fossil fuel, but it is also the dirtiest and most carbon intensive, she pointed out, noting that both the mining and utilization of coal are known to harm the environment and people's health.

Citing studies from the United Nations Environment Program and US Environmental Protection Authority, she said coal combustion releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which cause climatic warming in the earth's atmosphere. The process also produces sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides which cause acid rain.

On the other hand, coal plants are considered one of the largest sources of human-generated mercury, chromium, lead and arsenic pollution. Pollution from coal plants have been shown to impair lung function development in children, she added.

There are currently eight coal-fired power plants in the Philippines with a total capacity of 4,177 MW--equivalent to about 26 percent of the country's installed power generation capacity--with nine more plants lined up for construction or expansion.

"In the interest of sustainable development and a self-reliant energy sector, and to cope with the demands of power while grappling with the reality of climate change, the government must immediately commit to harnessing renewable energy."

Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity, micro-hydro, biomass and biofuels for transportation.

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