By Asian Peoples Movement on Debt & Development
On the occasion of the Annual Shareholders Meeting of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) in South Korea today, climate justice activists and grassroots leaders from an Asian regional organization as well as Philippine social movements and groups protested in front of the Korean company’s Makati office to demand that KEPCO stop financing new coal projects and completely phase-out of coal investments.
Members of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), the women’s group Oriang, Sanlakas, Koalisyon Pabahay ng Pilipinas (KPP) and Metro Manila Vendors’ Association (MMVA) denounced KEPCO’s persistence in financing new and existing coal projects despite South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s pronouncement to transition to a low carbon economy.
“KEPCO, whose 51.11% shares is owned by the South Korean government, should follow their country leader’s declaration and change their company’s energy and financing policies,” said PMCJ Coordinator Ian Rivera. “It is disappointing that KEPCO keeps on financing new coal projects, the dirtiest among the sources of energy,”
Freedom from Debt Coalition Secretary-General Sammy Gamboa pointed out that KEPCO is set to build a 1,000 MW coal-fired power plant in Sual, Panganisan. “This is another addition to its existing coal investments in the country, namely, the Cebu CFBC Power Plant and the Naga Power Plant Complex,” said Gamboa.
“Financiers of coal projects, the dirtiest among the fossil fuels that largely cause climate change, must be taken to task for their critical roles in climate change. Asia’s Dirty Companies such as KEPCO must heed the world-wide clamor to put an end to coal energy,” said Lidy Nacpil , Regional Coordinator of APMDD.
Sanlakas Secretary-General Aaron Pedrosa deplored that KEPCO has not changed its business-as-usual stance and continues to fund coal despite the 2015 Paris Agreement. “It is extremely disappointing that three years since the 2015 Paris Agreement when nearly 200 nations pledged to limit global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, KEPCO has not made significant changes to prevent catastrophic climate change.”
“Climate change-related disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe, destroying cities and moreso vulnerable communities that have no infrastructure support and adaptive capabilities,” said Rivera.
“Ordinary people and the poor suffer even more harshly from the onslaught of disasters”, said Flora Santos of the MMVA. “Those in vulnerable situations lose their means of livelihood, their support systems, their homes, and even their loved ones.”
According to Oriang Secretay-General Oyette Zacate, “women are even more vulnerable to climate change impacts as they bear the multiple burdens of earning a living, doing house work and caring for the young and elderly members of their family.”
“We cannot continue to live in risky situations and worsening threats to the survival and security of our families,” she said.
Nacpil further clarified the 1.5 degrees Celsius target is not just a number. “It represents the fate of the 7.6 billion world population and the earth’s eco-system. It could determine who will survive, how many islands will sink, who and how many will have food and shelter, what new diseases will threaten life. Thus, the expansion of the coal industry must stop and coal projects must be phased out as soon as possible,” she concluded.