Greenpeace warns coal import dependence to worsen energy security in Southeast Asia

January 13, 2022

Following the Indonesian government’s decision to ease its temporary ban on coal export, environmental organization Greenpeace warned that more energy crises will arise if governments continue their dependence on fossil fuel imports.

In a statement, the pro-environment group said that while Indonesia has loosened its ban on coal exports due to pressure from trading partners, including the Philippines, consumers will shoulder the high electricity costs resulting from fossil fuel import dependence.

“This unfortunately shows how dependent we are not just on fossil fuels, but on fossil fuel imports,” said Khevin Yu, energy transition campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines.

“With no ambitious plans to boost clean and renewable energy in the energy mix, energy insecurity will be a recurring problem that will burden Filipinos and the world, on top of the climate and COVID-19 crises,” he added.

He urged the country’s Energy department “to realize that they cannot talk their way out of the energy crisis every time global supplies hit a critical level.”

“We can alleviate the country’s energy struggles while mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis through a swift, massive uptake of renewables,” said Yu in a statement on Thursday, January 13.

He said the Energy department “should ramp up its commitment to phase out coal by revising the Philippine Energy Plan so that it facilitates a just and urgent transition to renewable energy.”

“It should increase the country’s renewable energy target to 50% by 2030, halt all plans for fossil gas, nuclear and all types of false solutions, and improve grid development for utility-scale solar and wind, which are abundant, indigenous, and free energy sources,” said Yu.

Tata Mustasya, climate and energy manager of Greenpeace in Indonesia, said the decision to lift the export ban has only benefited the “coal oligarch” who can sell the coal to domestic market with a higher price and boost the amount of coal export.

“Southeast Asia’s dependence on coal will exacerbate the climate crisis regionally and globally and create human and environmental impacts from coal production. We can’t bear the cost, it is too high,” he said.

The regional energy crisis comes months after COP26, where over 190 countries and organizations signed a statement seeking to phase out coal in powerful countries by the 2030s and in the rest of the world by the 2040s.

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