A group of climate activists protested against a bank that is financing the Atimonan coal-fired power plant in Atinoman, Quezon and other coal projects .
“Coal is not the answer to our country’s energy needs,” Philippine Movement for Climate Justice Coordinator Ian Rivera said at their protest in front of the Bank of the Philippine Islands in Makati City.
“Contrary to the coal industry’s persisting propaganda, coal is neither cheap nor clean. In fact, it has time and again been proven to be dirty, costly, and deadly,” he added.
This protest, according to a report by Business Mirror, is part of a nationwide campaign called Piglas Pilipinas that urges the country to break free from fossil fuels.
He added that coal is to blame for health problems experienced by communities with coal-fired power plants.
Rivera cited a Harvard study where an estimate of 2,410 deaths in the country is an effect of exposure to pollution caused by coal.
The burning of fossil fuels, coal being the worst of them, is the lead contributor to carbon emissions that aggravate global warming, which we know to be the primary cause of stronger typhoons, longer droughts all over the planet, and other forms of ecological disasters,” Rivera stated.
He also said that “Coal is, most of all, expensive, with most of its costs externalized and paid for by society at large,”
According to the climate activists, BPI is invested in operating power plants like GNPower in Mariveles, Bataan, Cebu Energy Development Corporation and Toledo Power Corporation in Cebu, Team Energy Pagbilao in Quezon, and the SEM Calaca in Batangas.
They added that the bank has plans to invest in the Masinloc Expansion Project in Zambales, Pagbilao Energy Corporation in Quezon, GNPower Dinginin in Bataan, and GNPower Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte.
“Investors and depositors of BPI should be advised against coal financing for its reputational risks. Most alarming of all, however, are the investment risks that continued coal financing poses. As our country, along with the rest of the world, moves towards renewable energy sources, coal assets will be nothing more than stranded assets in the future,” Rivera said.