Climate campaigners and pro-environment activists stormed a meeting of gas and LNG project financiers and stakeholders meeting in Manila on Tuesday, September 27.
“LNG is not welcome here!” shouted the protesters as they entered the venue of the Philippine Gas and LNG Investment Summit at Solaire Resort and Casino.
The meeting brought together Asia’s leading gas and LNG producers, suppliers, operators, regulators, traders, bankers and analysts.
“We are reeling from the devastation of Typhoon Karding (Noru), and here you are investing in global warming, which will cause the death of people and the planet,” said Ian Rivera, National Coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).
“We want investments in clean and renewable energy,” he added.
The protesters slammed the development of gas and LNG projects in the country and called for a transition to clean, renewable energy systems to address the climate crisis.
“Fossil gas and LNG emit harmful air pollutants even before they are burned and burning fossil gas produces greenhouse gases especially methane,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), in a statement.
She said methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere.
“Promoting LNG as transition fuel is deceptive and dangerous,” she said. “We call on the companies attending the summit to stop investing in gas and LNG projects,” added Nacpil.
The Philippines’ Department of Energy estimated that the Malampaya gas-to-power project, the country’s sole provider of natural gas to power around 20 percent of the country’s needs and 40 percent of Luzon’s, will be depleted by 2027.
The department is now exploring other options for sourcing energy, which include importing LNG with a goal to transform the Philippines into a leading LNG hub in Asia.
Pro-environment activists, however, said gas and LNG are all considered fossil fuels because they were formed from the fossilized, buried remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago.
Because of their origin, fossil fuels have a high carbon content.
“Fossil Gas and LNG projects are anti-poor and not welcome here,” said lawyer Aaron Pedrosa of the party-list group Sanlakas.
“Not only will these projects contribute to climate change which causes the gravest impacts on poor and marginalized communities, these private investments will only perpetuate the corporate dominated energy system that involves high electricity prices,” said Pedrosa.
The Philippine Gas and LNG Investment Summit is the first of its kind in the country following the pronouncement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his inaugural speech to explore and develop gas projects in the country for energy security.