Environmental activists have accused five Asian companies of investing in coal projects in the Philippines. (Photo by Mark Saludes)
Environmental groups, including church led ones, in the Philippines have rallied against five Asian companies accused of funding dirty energy projects in the region.
One group, the Asia Peoples Movement on Debt and Development, accused Korea Electric Power Corporation and Japanese companies Sumitomo Mitui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni Corporations, and Mizuho Bank Ltd. of "greatly contributing to climate change."
Lidy Nacpil, regional coordinator of the group, said the companies have not submitted to the 2015 Paris Agreement and refused to abandon fossil fuel investments.
The Paris deal is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020.
At least 195 countries signed the agreement that encourages nations to help cut down greenhouse gas emission and prevent global temperatures rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
"We are urging shareholders of these companies to take urgent steps and stop funding coal projects," Nacpil told reporters in Manila on June 26.
Green activists in Manila have been pressing the Philippine government to ban new coal projects and shut existing coal-fired power plants.
The lobby group Philippine Movement for Climate Justice noted that the world's leading coal financiers are funding 26 out of the 28 coal-fired plants in the country.
The Korean company KEPCO announced early this year plans to build a 1000 megawatts coal-fired power plant in the northern Philippines.
In March, Japanese banks Sumitomo Mitsui and Mizuho were reported to be lending money for the Masinloc coal-fired power plant in Zambales province, north of Manila.
Catholic Church leaders have been vocal in their opposition to "dirty energy projects that only benefit the few."
Father John Leydon, convener of the Global Catholic Climate Movement in the Philippines, said people should "listen to the voice of God through the cry of the poor and the cry of the environment."
Father Edwin Gariguez, head of the social action secretariat of the Catholic bishops' conference, said "responsibility to the environment and its inhabitants must comes first before profit and business interests."
"Only through ecological conversion, by embracing our connectedness with nature will we be able to truly care and give justice to all creation," read a statement from the Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc.
PMPI is a social development network of about 300 people's organizations, faith-based groups, and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany.
Yolanda Esguerra, national coordinator of the group, said Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, Laudato si', has given people "an insight towards the way to redemption and liberation."