Quezon City, Philippines
Ahead of the Marcos administration’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA), communities affected by the climate crisis from across the country demanded that the new government prioritize coherent plans to address climate change – and push for a genuine shift to renewable energy (RE).
Greenpeace and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) have convened communities from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao this week in a People’s Energy Conference. Community leaders called on the President: If he is serious about climate action, his words should materialize through prioritizing the shift to RE, and dropping coal, fossil gas, and nuclear plans.
Recent events exposed the unreliability and detrimental costs of the country’s dependence on fossil fuels — rising oil prices, power crises in areas like Mindoro, and the Malampaya shutdown, among others. According to the latest IPCC report, climate impacts are worsening faster than expected.
The groups said this is exacerbated by the fossil fuel industry, and with vulnerable communities affected disproportionately.
While the Marcos administration claims to prioritize an RE shift, the government is also looking at developing nuclear and gas, which the groups said will be more costly for consumers and pose a grave threat to Filipino communities and the planet.
Nuclear is the most dangerous energy source in the world – contrary to proponents’ belief that it is the “cleanest,” it can cause irreversible damage to the environment and peoples’ health.
It is also very risky to operate, more so in the Philippines which is constantly battered by strong typhoons and other extreme weather events, and is prone to earthquakes. Further, the problem of managing nuclear waste is yet to be resolved even by developed countries.
Meanwhile, the government is proposing fossil gas as a replacement for dirty coal. Science, however, shows that fossil gas is as detrimental to the climate as coal. Fossil gas might produce less carbon than coal, but it emits another greenhouse gas – methane, which is up to 105 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time horizon.
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Amid all these, the groups and communities are also asking the government to uphold democracy and participatory governance, given the threats of harassment and violence they constantly face as they defend the environment. The groups stressed the importance of a vibrant democracy in achieving climate and environmental justice. (amm/ Greenpeace PR)