No To Coal-Fired Power Plant

The Truth About Coal: Facts, Data, and Global Trends

The debate over coal-fired power plants is increasingly being won by those who highlight the severe environmental and health impacts. In Narra, Palawan, the proposed coal-fired power plant has sparked resistance from residents, environmentalists, and advocacy groups who understand the far-reaching consequences of relying on coal as an energy source. Here’s the truth about coal, backed by real data, and why its continued use poses significant risks.

Environmental Devastation

  1. Air Pollution:

    • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution from coal-fired power plants contributes to over 4.2 million premature deaths globally each year .
    • Coal plants emit pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM), which contribute to smog, acid rain, and respiratory problems.
  2. Climate Change:

    • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that coal combustion is responsible for 46% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, making it the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions .
    • Continuing to burn coal for energy significantly undermines efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
  3. Water Contamination:

    • Coal ash, a by-product of coal combustion, contains toxic substances such as arsenic, lead, and mercury. Improper disposal of coal ash can lead to water pollution, affecting drinking water sources and aquatic ecosystems .
    • Studies have shown that runoff from coal mines can contaminate rivers and streams, harming local communities and wildlife .

Health Hazards

  1. Respiratory Illnesses:

    • The Health Effects Institute found that exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from coal plants is linked to respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer .
    • The American Lung Association reports that communities near coal plants experience higher rates of respiratory problems and cardiovascular diseases .
  2. Chronic Health Conditions:

    • Long-term exposure to coal-related pollution increases the risk of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes .
    • A study published in the Lancet found that air pollution from coal plants contributes to a significant number of premature deaths annually .

Economic Myths

  1. Job Creation:

    • While coal plants do create jobs, the renewable energy sector, including solar and wind power, offers far more employment opportunities. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that renewable energy employed 11.5 million people globally in 2019, compared to the declining numbers in the coal sector .
  2. Energy Security:

    • Renewable energy technologies have advanced significantly, providing stable and increasingly cost-competitive alternatives.
    • Solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are not only cleaner but also reduce dependence on finite fossil fuel resources.

Countries Phasing Out Coal

Many countries around the world are taking decisive action to dismantle their coal-fired power plants and transition to cleaner energy sources:

  • Germany: Germany has committed to phasing out all coal-fired power plants by 2038, with significant closures already underway. The country is investing heavily in renewable energy to replace coal.
  • United Kingdom: The UK has made substantial progress in reducing its reliance on coal, with a commitment to phase out coal power completely by 2024.
  • Canada: Canada aims to eliminate traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030, aligning with its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Sweden: Sweden shut down its last coal-fired power plant in 2020, making it one of the first countries to become coal-free.
  • Spain: Spain has closed a significant number of coal plants and plans to phase out coal by 2030, focusing on renewable energy development.

The Way Forward

Opponents of the coal-fired power plant in Narra, Palawan, are advocating for a transition to renewable energy sources. Palawan's abundant natural resources make it an ideal candidate for solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, which can meet the region's energy needs without compromising environmental integrity or public health.

Key Actions and Advocacy:

  • Promote Renewable Energy: Support policies and projects that invest in renewable energy infrastructure.
  • Raise Awareness: Educate the public about the environmental and health impacts of coal and the benefits of clean energy.
  • Engage in Legal and Policy Efforts: Work with local governments and organizations to oppose new coal projects and advocate for sustainable energy solutions.

Join the Movement:

By standing against coal and promoting renewable energy, we can protect our environment, improve public health, and ensure a sustainable future for Palawan and beyond. The truth about coal is clear: it’s time to move away from this outdated and harmful energy source and embrace a cleaner, healthier path forward.

For more information and to get involved, visit ELAC Palawan on Facebook.