The Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) urged Philippine lawmakers to join the worldwide movement on reducing coal consumption in the country.
“June is the month of the environment, but the Philippines has lagged so far in giving action to its words as it prepares to invest even more in coal in defiance of global opinion on the matter,” CEED Executive Director Gerry Arances said in a statement on Wednesday in line with the celebration of the World Environment Day.
The United Nations celebrates World Environment Day every June 5 since 1974, an action which the Philippines supported as it declared June as Philippine Environment Month through Proclamation No. 237 in 1988.
“The vast majority of power projects in the pipeline are coal-fired, meaning that the rest of the world begins to become more conscious of the environment and the costs of fossil fuels, the Philippines is going in the other direction,” he added.
The CEED cited a 2019 report by the International Energy Agency which showed that the construction of coal-powered plants has gone down by three percent worldwide.
“A development that is contradicted in Southeast Asia,” the CEED said.
However, coal continues to provide more than a third of the installed capacity of power plants in the Philippines which accounts for 35.4 percent.
According to Arances, the dependence of the Philippines on coal not only destroys the environment, but also increases the cost of electricity and healthcare in coal-affected communities.
“Coal is often touted as cheap. But the people who say that only count the profits they make, not the costs to our foreign exchange reserves, the healthcare system as communities suffer from air pollution, and the high cost of electricity to end-consumers,” he said.
By: Christia Marie Ramos