LET US SIMPLIFY THE ISSUE. We have decided as a people we are an Eco-Tourism province primarily. The “Eco” part of the tag means Ecology.
Intrinsically, therefore, anything that endangers the environment must be rejected because it will destroy tourism as well.As Tourism demands a healthy environment- of air, water, and land.
Bohol Business, the Church (in a pulpit statement) and the public (through various surveys) had said a resounding “no” to environmentally dirty sources of power. “No to Coal” is an overwhelming sentiment.
If there are more compelling reasons better than “the voice of the people”- we do not know what that is. But surely, they must exist. For why would Capitol and now the Sangguniang Panlungsod (by inference) continue to give coal the chance to bid to supply the power in Bohol once the Leyte geothermal lock-in expires in 2022-2023.
If one knows coal is a dangerous power source- in absolute terms and in relative terms to renewables and other fossil fuels, why still give it legitimacy?
As one wit said, in a basketball tourney- no matter how much sponsorship and gate receipts Team ABC can muster- if it is widely known to engage in violence and hooliganism on and off the court- why even give them the chance to blacken the tournament by accepting their entry? Or more importantly, potentially harm the players of the other teams?
Others can pontificate on it as a “due process” for coal; others just simply call it a “lack of political will” and inconsistency with a publicly- avowed devotion to the cause of the environment so gracefully laced in press releases.
We can put the SP to task as well. In its resolution, it called three criteria for the power source bidding: Environment (which it claims as “most important”), Reliability and Cost.
If Environment is deemed “most important”- then in assigning weights to the bidding criteria- Environment should have a valuation of at least 55% and the combined total weights of Reliability and Cost should only be 45%.
If they assign an equal weight of (33.3%) for all three criteria)- that is a set-up- perhaps meant to make coal win on the issue of Reliability and Cost. What happened to the primacy of the environment?
One can claim some form of mental dishonesty here- to load the dice in favor of coal and still appear to have given the “environment” a chance. But Boholanos are not that stupid not to see the charade.
Glib-tongued snake oil salesmen are a dime a dozen. They can always claim that coal-powered plants now have evolved and they are now environmentally friendly (our foot).
If it were indeed so, why are the most advanced sophisticated nations like the USA, China, Japan, and India reducing their dependence on coal-powered plants and 30 other nations ending the lives of their coal-powered plants by 2030?
From 40% coal dependency at the turn of the century, the USA will be at 22% by 2030 dependent on coal. Even two of the most populated nations China and India are going green on their power sources- freezing hundreds of coal plant applications recently. That- even if the coal plants in China are more environmentally sound than those in the USA.
Japan in 1950 was 50% coal-dependent- now oil is more than half as a power source with a sprinkling of nuclear and coal being cast aside.
Greenpeace reported that in the year 2016 alone- the number of newly opened coal-powered plants globally fell by 75%. Are the reasons as to why still unclear?
Have we discovered here a new cool kind of coal that none of these sophisticated nations have ever heard of as to not consider its efficacy?
Besides, Bohol has always said “no” to mining here- take them elsewhere as the late Rico Aumentado told mining investors. Because we care for the environment.
Did we not ever consider that by building a coal-powered plant here- we are encouraging the mining of more coal elsewhere in the country- a process that is a pollutant to air, water, and land- causing health problems to their domiciled communities?
We live in one globe and anything we do to harm the environment will affect all people via climate change. Just one example. When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the early 1990’s – its volcanic ash traveled halfway across the globe contributing particles to the environment. See?
We spend billions in climate change mitigation and disaster management due to natural disasters. Yet, some decisions we make – consider a scant value to its impact on the environment.
We doff our hat to Rep Aris Aumentado for filing a bill in Congress blocking the entry of any coal-powered plant in his district, In this regard, clearly, like father, like son.
The Philippines is one of the least contributory to world air pollution on record -yet we are one of the most vulnerable- to storms, drought, and earthquakes- all natural disasters worsened by climate change.
Let us not add more toxic wastes to the air that is breathed by all by accepting a coal-powered plant and thus encouraging the mining of more coal elsewhere.
Recall that we are mere stewards of Mother Nature- we will be accountable to God and man for its proper use and preservation. Shalom!
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