The campaign against the establishment of an island-based power plant using coal as fuel is gaining traction.
Bishop Patrick Daniel Parcon of the Diocese of Talibon and Bishop Albert Uy, Diocese of Tagbilaran, are said to oppose the plan to establish of coal-fueled power plants in the province, according to Clean Energy Advocates (CEA), a loose organization of non-government organizations, religious, academe, and faith-based groups.
The CEA has met with the prelates separately as it intensifies its campaign against the move of the provincial government in considering the coal-powered power plant to be put up in the province.
During the meeting, Bishop Uy expressed his stand against coal-fired power, saying that the plan might contradict with the vision and mission of the provincial government.
Bohol envisions to be “a prime eco-cultural tourism destination and a strong balanced agro-industrial province, with a well-educated, God-loving and law-abiding citizenry, proud of their cultural heritage, enjoying a state of well-being and committed to sound environmental management.”
Its mission is “To enrich Bohol’s social, economic, cultural, political and environmental resources through good governance and effective partnerships with stakeholders for increasing global competitiveness.” Its Goals: Environmental protection and management; social equity, delivering quality services; local/regional economic development and strategic wealth generation; responsive, transparent and accountable governance.
He said he will talk to Bishop Parcon to come up with separate campaign statement, saying “let’s walk the talk” with this endeavor.
According to Emmie Roslinda of PROCESS one of the convenors of the CEA, “I’m happy to inform you that Atty. Nunag, Argeo Melisimo, Atty. John Vistal and PENRO supported our advocacy. They, in fact, elaborated the potential effect when pushed through.”
Recently, CEA released to the media a statement interposing opposition to the coal plant for environmental, health and cost grounds.
FORUM ON COAL QUESTION
As an opening salvo of the campaign, they organized the Bohol’s Forum on Coal Question held at Café Caloy in this city.
Earlier, the group has issued a manifesto strongly opposing the coal use in the future.
Through the Participatory Research, Organization of Communities and Education towards Struggle for Self-Reliance or PROCESS-Bohol, Inc., the group sent the manifesto, urging the Sangguniang Panlalawigan thru acting Vice-Gov. Benjie Arcamo to give attention of their cry — no to coal use.
They asserted that coal, aside from being costly, is deadly that impacts negatively on Bohol’s environment citing studies.
“Coal kills the environment and people. A recent study commissioned by Greenpeace to Harvard University revealed that both existing and proposed coal power plants in the Philippines can cause up to 2,400 deaths annually. These deaths do not only mean avoidable and unnecessary PhilHealth or local government spending or lost labor productivity this number also represents young lives that will not be able to reach their full potential,” the manifesto, signed by hundreds of supporters, showed.
The group put forward its demand for the provincial board and city council “shall recognize the negative impact of coal-based power generation and the need to shift to renewable energy sources by passing Resolutions to support calls for a moratorium on the establishment of carbon-intensive and fossil-based technologies.”
Coal, which is abundant and inexpensive, is responsible for carbon dioxide emission (45%) worldwide and some 72% of total greenhouse gas emissions from electric sector, Noelyn Dano said in her presentation during the forum.
The burning of coal would produce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and other substances that result to acid rain, illnesses such respiratory or lung related to smog or haze and carbon dioxide to GHG, she said.
All these contribute to global warming, which is defined as increase of average temperature at earth’s surface — land, water, atmosphere –and increase of GHG emission that leads to climate change.
Climate change refers to “changes of climate systems, including precipitation patterns and length of seasons and temperature, frequency, and intensity of extreme weather events as a consequence of excessive GHG concentration in the atmosphere,” based on the presentation of Larry Pascua of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.
There are believed to be about 470 million metric tons of coal deposits out of the 2.3 billion metric tons of potential reserves in the country.
Use of coal to produce power accounts to 45% while renewable energy —- wind, solar, biomass – 25%; natural gas, 23% and oil, 7%.
Pascua said that the effects of the global warming would result to the melting of glaciers, warming of oceans and others.
It also impacts people’s survival, the disappearance of islands, displacement of communities, and health problems and catastrophes, he said.
And these changes and effects of continuous using of coal and other fossil-based fuels are irreversible. (rvo)