MANILA, JULY 27, 2007
(GREENPEACE SOUTHEAST ASIA) by LEA GUERRERO - Greenpeace renews call for renewable energy solutions

Manila, 27 July 2007--The Philippines is sleepwalking into disaster unless the government implements strong measures to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change. Greenpeace issued the warning today amid the government's serious alarms of impending drought and unnatural weather which have brought on the water and power crises currently gripping the Philippines.

"The looming drought and the current energy shortage demonstrates how we have been falling headlong into a disaster that could well have been preventable. The government must now see that the strategic solution to both problems in the critical long term is massive investment in renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner Jasper Inventor.

The impending drought follows the trend of extreme weather occurrences that signify the onslaught of climate change. Early this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change affirmed that human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, are to blame for global warming.

"Countering climate change through renewable energy alternatives and energy efficiency addresses catastrophic climate change impacts such as extreme weather events as we steer away from harmful fossil fuels.

"For the government to follow the President Arroyo's master plan to expand and build coal plants around the country in order to address power shortage is completely ridiculous and will only exacerbate the problems. There is no excuse to continue on the path to catastrophe when renewable energy solutions are in our hands," he added.

As a start, Inventor says that the Philippines must start reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, particularly coal, for its energy source. There must be no new coal plants and no expansion of existing coal-fired power plants. The Department of Energy must also deliver its promise to increase the country's renewable energy capacity by 100% by 2013.

"There is no need to build or expand coal plants if the plants operated efficiently. All new investments in power should now come from renewables if the government is serious in addressing the climate as well as the power crisis. The immediate passage of a strong Renewable Energy Bill will be crucial in initiating this change," Inventor said.

Other measures such as energy efficiency are equally important. But although the directive for government offices to switch to energy efficient lighting within the month is helpful, it should be developed into a massive drive that goes beyond lighting to general power usage by the wider public.

For more information: Jasper Inventor, Climate and Energy Campaigner, +63 917 300 9567 Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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