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Greenpeace links coal-fired power plants to Philippines' extreme weather

Government plans to raise number of plants from 13 to 58

Greenpeace links coal-fired power plants to Philippines' extreme weather

Environmental activists call for an end to the use of coal fuel in the country (picture: Jimmy Domingo)

Joe Torres, Manila

July 25, 2014

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A new Greenpeace report says the Philippines’ "continued fixation" with coal-fired power plants as a main energy source encourages climate catastrophes. 

"While we cannot prevent super typhoons from entering the country, we can address what causes these storms to be stronger and more frequent, and we tag coal as the culprit, the main driver of climate change," said Reuben Andrew Muni, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace.

The report - The True Cost of Coal: Costs of Climate Change in the Philippines - is the second in a series of three. The first report, published in May, dealt with effects on agriculture and marine life. The latest section, released today, focuses on climate change.

It warns that coal-fired power plants will cause local sea waters to get continually warmer, a rise sea levels and more cyclones.

Lourdes Tibig, one of the report’s lead authors, said sea levels have risen faster in the Philippine Sea than elsewhere in the world, with increases in excess of 10mm per year.

"Higher sea levels in turn trigger higher storm surges, which mean that more water is pushed farther inland," she said. 

Worldwide, coal-fired power plants are recognized as the biggest source of man made carbon dioxide emissions, which causes global warming.

In 2012, the Philippine Department of Energy reported that power generation in the Philippines was still dominated by coal at nearly 38.76 percent. 

With 13 operational coal-fired power plants, the government currently plans to bring another 45 online.

Greenpeace warns that given the economic, social and environmental damage that climate change has wrought upon, and will continue to threaten the Philippines, embracing coal is a "dangerous policy." 

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