By Chuck Baclagon
This morning picketed the Vietnamese Embassy in Manila, to urge the their government to cancel the plan to put up the 2,800-megawatt Long An power station in Long An province, Vietnam to protect their people, their environment, and the climate.
Both Vietnam and the Philippines rank among the most vulnerable countries worldwide to the impacts of climate change. Science demands the world to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, if not within the aspirational target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, to avoid climate catastrophe. Vietnam has also pledged to do its fair share of climate action by ratifying the Paris Agreement. Yet the construction of the proposed Long An coal plant would further contribute to global warming.
Moreover, coal has proven to be destructive to the health of communities and ecosystems. Mining and burning coal release harmful pollutants into the air including: mercury, particulate matter, chemicals that form smog. The pollution also kills fish and plants, damages the soil, and contaminates the groundwater and waterways.
A healthy, prosperous and sustainable world is possible if all countries transition to clean energy as it offers a safe, vast and inexhaustible supply of power. In addition, renewable energy not only reduces the externalized costs of fossil fuels in terms of health and environmental impacts; it also creates much more jobs and grows the economy.
Cancelling the Long An coal plant would therefore not be a liability. In fact, it provides an opportunity for Vietnam to spur a low-carbon and more equitable form of development.