A coal-free Philippines should benefit the people and ecosystems
Quezon City, Philippines – 350.org Pilipinas welcomes the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent moratorium on greenfield coal power plants. It sends a clear message that by breaking off its “technology neutral” position, the DOE is finally catching up to the reality that the future is fossil fuel-free, and that countries like the Philippines are willing to join the ranks of those who are leading the charge for low-carbon development in Asia.
However, the moratorium only covers those that are yet to be approved and built. It does not include committed coal power projects that have already secured permits and are at different stages of development. These committed projects are being resisted by grassroots communities who are experiencing environmental and social impacts even before they start operating.
Moveover, it is deeply concerning that DOE is looking into geothermal technology as an alternative energy source, as most geothermal energy reserves are situated in national parks or in Indigenous Peoples ancestral domains. In addition, the government has declared that they are willing to open these projects to 100% foreign ownership. Such projects have adversely impacted ecosystems and displaced forest-dependent communities’ livelihoods.
We believe that the imperative for energy transformation should benefit people and ecosystems. Ending the Philippines’ dangerous and needless dependence on coal entails bolder steps from the DOE to ultimately ensure sustainability and greater peoples’ access and control, and build climate solutions for a just and equitable future for all.
These steps include:
- expanding the moratorium beyond greenfield projects to include coal projects that are not yet in operation;
- levelling the playing field in the energy market by removing subsidies for coal, and;
- pursuing a more diverse energy mix which harnesses the country’s vast potential for solar, wind, and other indigenous sources of renewable energy.