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Eco watchdog urges Asean bloc to fight coal push

 

The Southeast Asian Working Group on Climate and Energy (SAWGCE), composed of members of civil society organizations and people’s movements across Southeast Asia, yesterday denounced what they claimed to be an evident collusion among leaders of Asean, East Asia and the United States of America, in their push for the coal agenda within the climate-vulnerable region of Southeast Asia. 

According to the SAWGCE head convenor Gerry Arances, huge corporations and developed countries like the US and Japan have zeroed in on the region as an economy ripe enough for hosting a number of their investments on the expansion of coal — an energy source long called out by environmentalists and affected communities as the dirtiest, most destructive energy source.
“The realities of destructive coal have not stopped Asean, US and East Asian leaders’ coal push,” said Arances, in prepared statement, said
He said that Asean leaders, sanctioning the increase of coal use in their local region and welcoming more coal investments from across the globe, have branded coal as the key to further Asean’s economic growth.
Glenn Ymata, also the group convenor, said the US and East Asian countries, like Japan, ride on the Asean coal frenzy by promoting more coal projects within the region, echoing claims made by the region’s leaders that coal is the key to power development.
“Corporations in the Donald Trump-led US have encouraged more coal mining on US lands. Coal extracted from these lands are to be marketed as ‘cheap and reliable’ energy for ‘power-hungry’ countries such as those in Southeast Asia,” explained Aaron Pedrosa, also a member of SAWGCE.
WALHI’s (The Indonesian Forum for Environment) Dwi Sawung stressed that the myth that coal could be clean is threatening to further boost coal’s status as the region’s main energy source.
“We stress that clean coal has time and again been debunked as a dirty lie. Clean coal is currently too expensive, especially for the poorer countries in Asean, and will take years before reaching a viable economic price,” Dwi said.
According to Dwi, even at a competitive price, clean coal is inefficient with reducing the emissions that traditional coal combustion releases.
“Clean coal’s air pollution control technologies, while promising to capture hazardous air pollutants released by coal, are merely stored in ash dumps or unlined waste ponds that poison surface and groundwater,” Dwi added.

 

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