DAVAO CITY – A Filipino who spoke before the International Rights of Nature Tribunal called for a global coal moratorium to preserve forests in the Asian region.
The international gathering was held coinciding the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21).
“We the Filipino people, and the people of Southeast Asia at large, are forwarding the Kiribati Proposal to declare a global moratorium on coal mining…Doing this in Southeast Asia will keep 19 billion tons of coal under the ground. Imagine if we can do the coal mine moratorium: millions of hectares of forests will be preserved,” said Mr. Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and coordinator of Oil Watch Southeast Asia, in his speech.
The Kiribati Moratorium is a proposal made by the national government of Kiribati, a small Pacific island nation, which calls on all countries to adopt a moratorium on new coal mining projects. Bautista was joined by fellow activists from Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Alaska, Nigeria, Columbia, South Africa, and France in the presentation.
“The present and future generations will be able to breathe clean air. Our people will have better health and livelihoods. We will able to further develop clean and affordable energy sources and technologies for the people,” Bautista added.
The coal mining moratorium proposal is premised on the scientific consensus that 80 percent of all remaining coal reserves must be kept in the ground by 2050 if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate shifts.
Bautista also made the case to expand the moratorium proposal’s coverage to the construction of new coal-fired power plants.
“On top of the mining moratorium, we also propose a moratorium on the construction of coal power plants in the region. In the Philippines alone, if there will be no new coal plants we will avoid the release of 60 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere,” said Bautista.
“If our friends in Ecuador and Nigeria want to keep oil under the soil, we in Southeast Asia want to keep coal in the hole, and to keep operating coal power plants to its remnants,” he added.
According to the International Energy Agency, fossil fuel use in South East Asia could increase by 80% by 2040 in spite of the projected renewable energy development in the region. Carbon emissions from the power industry in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Indonesia could double, hitting 2.3 gigatonnes by 2035.(davaotoday.com)