Coal expansion in PH, 11 other fossil mega-projects place climate goals at risk – report

NGOs release ‘Five Years Lost: How Finance is Blowing the Paris Carbon Budget

18 NGOs on Thursday released a report that showcases 12 of the most devastating fossil fuel projects in the global pipeline, including the planned expansion of coal use in the Philippines.

In addition to their local environmental and social impacts, lifetime emissions from the 12 ‘carbon bombs’ are expected to take up three quarters of the remaining global carbon budget for a chance to still limit temperature rise to the 1.5°C Paris goal. Entitled ‘Five Years Lost: How the Finance Industry is Blowing the Paris Carbon Budget’, the report exposes the role of financial institutions in supporting companies pursuing the identified oil, coal, and gas mega-projects.

“In recent years, the Philippines has turned into a carbon bomb, with 13.8 GW of new coal waiting to be added to its already installed capacity of 9.8 GW. Backed by both local and international financiers, this climate-vulnerable country is about to dump 2.4 Gigatons of potential lifetime C02 emissions into the atmosphere. Coal expansion in the Philippines along with the 11 other devastating global fossil fuel projects will throw all hopes of limiting global warming down the drain,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of CEED.

In its contributed chapter, CEED brought to international attention the impacts of coal to the heavily exposed province of Quezon.

According to the report, Quezon “is already home to three existing coal-fired power plants with an installed capacity of 2.2 GW. With 3.6 GW more in the pipeline, residents lament that the province is quickly becoming the country’s coal capital, despite it also being at the forefront of climate catastrophes.”

Released two days before the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the publication of the report also coincides with the observation of international Human Rights Day.

“Our people have a right to breathe clean air, a right to live without the constant threat of climate hazards, and a right to demand accountability from those who keep forcing more coal into our backyard. Quezon has suffered long enough. We call on all financiers to stop fueling the fires of coal plants with their money, and on all proponents to honor our people’s right to lives free from coal’s poison,” said Fr. Warren Puno, long-term advocate and Director of the Ministry of Ecology of the Diocese of Lucena.

Despite ranking 7th in the world among countries with the biggest coal expansion plans, CEED maintains that the Philippines is a carbon bomb at a crossroads.

“Today, the resistance against coal is stronger than ever. A moratorium has just been placed. No new coal project has started to be built since 2018. The planned coal expansion is nothing but proof of the denial of coal financiers and proponents that an energy transformation is at hand. But delaying the transition is something that we simply cannot afford, nor will we from civil society and coal-affected communities allow it,” said Arances.