By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
International environmental group Greenpeace called on the Philippine government to stop all plans to pursue nuclear energy, oil exploration, and coal expansion, and instead focus on maximizing the country’s abundant potential for clean, safe renewable energy.
The group pointed out that pursuing dangerous and dirty energy sources will compound the severe climate impacts already suffered by Filipinos.
“Nuclear, oil and coal are the worst energy decisions that the government can make, and these harmful energy sources should be junked and phased out rather than promoted to avert the climate crisis,” Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu said.
The group urged President Duterte to rethink his administration’s energy choices and ensure that he is true not only to his directive to promote the development of renewable energy but also to his mandate to serve the interests of the Filipino people.
In his State of the Nation Address last June, President Duterte directed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to “fast-track the development of renewable energy sources, and reduce dependence on traditional energy sources such as coal.”
However, current developments show that the government is heading the opposite direction, Greenpeace pointed out.
President Duterte recently came home from Russia with planned and potential partnerships with Rosatom and Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled nuclear, and oil and gas companies, respectively.
Following this visit, he graced the inauguration of a new coal plant in Quezon Province, referring to the facility as “clean” and calling for more such similar investments.
Greenpeace however noted the bad track records of Rosatom and Rosneft, revealing highly questionable safety records, problematic environmental impacts, vulnerability to corruption, and tremendous cost overruns.
The paper also detailed the extreme risks from “floating nuclear power plants.”
“These nuclear and oil and gas exploration plans, as well as the move to promote coal plants, are highly dubious considering the fact that the country has not yet maximized its capacity for renewable energy,” Yu said.
“Dirty and dangerous energy has no place in the country’s sustainable energy scenario, particularly at a time when renewable energy is already proven to be the cheapest, safest and most reliable form of electricity generation,” he added.