Greenpeace issues 11th hour challenge to Senate, PGMA


Manila, 5 February 2007–Greenpeace today demanded immediate action from the government for an 11th hour passage of the Renewable Energy (RE)Bill, saying the Senate must not deliberately pass up the last chance to enact into law a policy intended to mitigate climate change impacts at the source. The demand, issued in a press briefing in Quezon City, comes as the Philippine government is poised to drop the RE Bill at the end of the 13th Congress this week, despite assurances from the President that the country will “march with the world in the struggle against global warming.”

“This is no longer the time for rhetoric but for urgent action. If the government were really serious about confronting climate change, they should have prioritized the passage of the RE bill long ago. How can the President speak of meeting the challenge of climate change when there are no mechanisms in place specifically to back up this action? Worse, the government continues to invest in dirty energy projects,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigns Director Von Hernandez.

Greenpeace has been challenging the Philippine government to take immediate action to mitigate climate change impacts by enacting the RE Bill. Climate change impacts have been manifested in the country in devastating storms, floods, extreme precipitation, and droughts,
leading to calamities which have destroyed lives and property, and have crippled an already struggling economy. Last Friday, a new UN report detailed the strongest warnings yet from the international scientific community on the threat of dangerous climate change.

The latest report on the science of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in Paris concludes that continuing business-as-usual practices globally is likely to increase the earth’s average temperature between 1.1 degrees Celsius and 6.4 degrees Celsius above 1980 to 1999 levels by 2095, leading to more drought, heat waves, floods and stronger hurricanes, rapid melting of ice sheets and rising sea levels. Among the major findings is the statement that the intensity of tropical storms is likely to increase in the coming years.

The Philippines has been bearing the brunt of climate change impacts for more than a decade. The Greenpeace report “Crisis or Opportunity: Climate Change Impacts” detailed trends in extreme weather events in the country which validated earlier IPCC assessments that climate change has and will be manifested in “changes in frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme [weather] events.” The most recent calamity from extreme weather events to hit the country was the series of strong typhoons by the end of 2006 which inflicted major damage to lives and the economy.

With Friday’s latest IPCC report, acknowledged by experts to contain the most dire assessments yet, the UN has called for drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and for a more rapid and determined global response to make this possible.

“President Arroyo has stated that the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is part of the government’s long term agenda to address this impending disaster. Action, however, has to start now if we are truly committed to this goal. The RE Bill must be passed and strengthened with legally-binding targets to reflect our sincere determined response to last Friday’s dire warnings. Alongside this, the government must halt the expansion of coal energy, one of the world’s major climate change culprits,” said Hernandez.

The government has nine coal plants either planned or in already in the pipeline this year, which, together, are projected to increase the country’s CO2 emissions by as much as 11% over the next several years. And while the government has proclaimed that it plans to stay within tolerable limits of CO2 emissions, it has recently inaugurated the 210 MW STEAG AG coal fired power plant in Misamis Oriental. “While the RE Bill languishes in the Senate from lack of attention,” added Hernandez.

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

For more information:
Von Hernandez, Campaigns Director, +63 917 526 3050
Abigail Jabines, Climate and Energy Campaigner, +63 917 886 4767
Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969, +63 2 434 7034 loc
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