“Don’t drop the RE Bill” Greenpeace challenges Senate

Manila, 31 January 2006—”Don’t drop the RE Bill!” Greenpeace today issued the challenge to the Senate after receiving reports that the upper chamber is no longer considering the passage of the Renewable Energy Bill, even as a new UN report expected to be released on Friday warns that the impacts of climate change could be much worse than earlier expected, especially for developing countries like the Philippines.

“The developments in the Senate on the fate of the RE Bill are disheartening, to say the least” said Greenpeace Campaign Director Von Hernandez, “While the world and our country is facing a calamity of apocalyptic proportions due to climate change, our senators seem to be more interested in ongoing political intramurals. The reality of climate is now staring us in the face. Scientists are telling us that climate change is happening much faster than we previously thought. It is insensible and irresponsible for the Senate to now drop the ball on this important piece of legislation especially at a time when the problem demands urgent action especially from those who proclaim to lead us.”

“The Philippines lays claim to the world’s second and third deadliest disasters of 2006. Extreme precipitation brought on by climate change triggered both the Mayon mudslide and the Guinsaugon tragedy. Scientists are telling us that these will happen again, and when they do, they will be much worse. Clearly, there is an urgent need for the Philippines to lay out its plans on how to adapt and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change. An important piece of the solution lies in the promotion and massive adoption of renewable energy systems in the country,” Hernandez added.

A recent study published by the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters and the United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction identified the mudslide in Legazpi and the landslide in Leyte as the second and the third of the world’s deadliest disasters of 2006, respectively, with a total of 2,511 deaths. The mudslide at the slopes of Mt. Mayon in Legazpi was due to the typhoon Reming while the landslide in Guinsaigon, Leyte was aggravated by an abnormal increase in rainfall.

This development came as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change composed of 500 experts on climate science are currently meeting in Paris to review the draft of a major international report on climate change that will be released later this week. Scientists warn that billions will be affected from extreme weather events, shortage of water supply, hunger as temperatures rise, inundated coastlines from sea level rise.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also admitted earlier this month that last year’s typhoons have adversely affected economic growth in 2006 due to damage to crops and infrastructure.

“The government can still approve the RE Bill if the political will is there. To abandon the bill now means losing another opportunity to minimize the repercussions of climate change. Inaction translates to loss of lives and economic opportunities and that is clearly not an option. There is no time to waste,” added Hernandez.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environment problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

For more information:
Von Hernandez, Campaigns Director, +63 917 526 3050
Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969, +63 2 434 7034 loc 104