DAVAO CITY – President Benigno Aquino III will grace the inauguration of the coal-fired power plant here Friday.

The 300-megawatt power plant of Therma South Inc. is expected to generate additional energy for the Mindanao Grid. Its 150-megawatt unit started commercial operations in September last year supplying energy to more than 20 electric cooperatives and distribution utilities all over Mindanao.

Therma South Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp. Its coal-fired power plant is located on the boundary of Barangay Binugao, Toril District, Davao City and Barangay Inawayan, Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur and uses circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology.

Meanwhile, environmental advocates are asking “what happened to the commitment of the government during the recent Climate Change conference?”

Dr. Jean Lindo, spokesperson of the  Network Opposed to Coal (No to Coal) Davao  told  Davao Today that they “regret” the decision of the national and local government to put up a coal plant here.
“We even joined the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) which talked about how to implement the agreements set by the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to lessen greenhouse gas emissions to solve climate change,” she said.

“President Aquino even called for the commitment of the countries in reducing greenhouse gas emission. But he should have thought that the Philippines is not exempted on that call,” Lindo said.

COP21 is also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference where 195 parties committed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions conditionally by 70 percent by 2030.

“The recent COP 21 in Paris should have given the Philippine representatives an opportunity for macroanalysis on climate change. It should not be seen from the perspective that our country is not a big greenhouse gas emitter as the top ten emitter,” said Lindo.

“When we speak of climate justice it should be distributive justice. So for example the top ten emitters, they will reduce their carbon emissions and their definite actions will be to close down coal-fired power plants (CFPPs),” said Lindo citing a move from China and Ontario in Canada to shut down its coal plants.

She said the country should “not build more and should start retiring the existing CFPPs.” Lindo also said the issue is even more complicated with the operations of coal mining.

“This is really an unsustainable energy solution,” she said.

She said the country should be focusing on renewable energy that is community-based.

“We call for a community-based renewable energy solution, not corporate-driven,” Lindo said. She said it is possible if the government will sincerely commit to decreasing carbon emission.

Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Clementa Bautista said if no new coal plants will open in the country “we will avoid the release of 60 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.”(davaotoday.com)

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