CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Anti-coal power campaign in central Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Gerry Alminaza of San Carlos, Negros Occidental, the central Philippines, has expressed support for a campaign against the building of a coal-fired power plant in the province. He said local Church leaders are giving their full backing for the move, initiated by the Youth for Climate Hope group.
 
“As our youth said, we will stand against this because this is about our future,” the bishop said on Ash Wednesday.
 
The youth group staged an anti-coal demonstration outside the provincial capitol building on March 6 as part of activities to observe the Church’s Year of the Youth.
 
The provincial government has also expressed its commitment to fight global warming by pursuing “clean and renewable energy projects” by opposing the establishment of coal-fired power plants.
 
The governor, Alfredo Maranon Jr., signed an order creating a “renewable energy council” that will formulate measures “for a greener and energy-sufficient province.”
 
The island of Negros has been a centre of renewable energy in the Philippines, hosting solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal plants.
 
Also on March 6, the non-government Climate Reality Project commended Negros Occidental province for taking a “bold step towards a greener, sustainable future.”
 
The group said in a statement, “It is our hope that the province serves as a model for others to break free from coal and commit to the fight to solve the climate crisis.” 
 
The organisation also lauded the province’s youth groups for “stepping up to the challenge and influencing their leaders to fully embrace renewable energy. This is a strong example of how the youth can be a driving force towards developing a climate of change.” 
 
The environmental group said the sustained advocacy of faith communities led by Bishop Alminaza inspired young people “to stand up and secure a clean and sustainable future.”
 
The bishop, meanwhile, said the advocacy of the young people has been a “big step for their future.”
 
In 2018, a private company announced it was planning to build a 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant in the province, but it was opposed by Church leaders who have been advocating the use of renewable energy.
 
Coal-fired power plants are currently the Philippines biggest source of electricity with an existing capacity of 7,419 megawatts.

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