Rainbow Warrior arrives in Iloilo

Iloilo City, Philippines, 7 June 2008 — Greenpeace today challenged the Arroyo government to heed recent UN warnings and support the Iloilo people’s demand to Quit Coal and commit to a cleaner, safer, future powered by renewable energy. The call was made as the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior docked in Iloilo City for the latest leg of her “Quit Coal – Save the Climate” tour of the Philippines, after sailing using wind power all the way from Manila.

“The Rainbow Warrior arrives in Iloilo City with a message of hope. Our ship has been campaigning for the Philippine government to ‘Quit Coal’ since it arrived in the country last May 20. So far we have gathered significant support from Albay province, congress representatives and senators in the call to phase out coal to stop climate change. We intend to intensify this call in Iloilo City which is home to some of the country’s most active pro-renewable energy groups. We are optimistic that the community movement in this city will help strengthen similar campaigns to end coal dependence in other parts of the country,” said Rainbow Warrior skipper Mike Fincken.

Greenpeace has been working with Iloilo-based groups, such as RISE (Responsible Ilonggos for Sustainable Energy) and the Catholic church Social Action Center, to block the construction of the 165MW coal-fired power plant slated to be built soon within Iloilo City. Last April, Greenpeace helped delay the issuance of the project’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) when Greenpeace activists protested at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. However, the President and the Department of Energy, whose secretary, Angelo Reyes, is also the chair of the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change, are aggressively pushing for the climate-harmful coal power project.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants is the main driver of climate change, representing a major portion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, coal accounts for 72% of carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. In the Philippines eight coal fired power plants, with a total capacity of 4,177 MW, or about 26.1% of the country’s installed capacity, currently account for as much as 36% of the emissions from the energy sector. However, nine more coal-fired plants are up for construction or expansion, despite the fact that the government recognizes the Philippines as among the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

As part of the activities in Iloilo, Greenpeace set up a Climate Defenders Camp at the Jaro Cathedral grounds in time for World Environment day yesterday. The camp is meant to be a hub for public awareness campaigns about climate change and its dangerous impacts, and solutions such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. It is open to the public and will run until 17 June 2008.

The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines to spearhead the Greenpeace “Quit Coal Tour” in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The tour aims to promote an energy revolution to stop climate change, which includes phasing out the use of climate-damaging coal and a massive uptake of renewable energy.

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.