Green groups set to raise coal, mining globalization issues in upcoming ‘People’s Campaign against APEC’

September 24, 2015

By Kalikasan PNE
Kalikasan vs. APEC

Image from Kalikasan PNE

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) announced in a press conference today their plan to join upcoming protest mobilizations during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit this coming November. The environmental activist network said they will raise concerns on the current state of the Philippine environment as a result of decades of globalization in extractive and pollutive industries such as coal power and large-scale mining.

“Under the auspices of neoliberal globalization, the APEC has facilitated decades of natural resource plunder, environmental degradation, and wholesale land-grabbing in the Philippines and other Asia-Pacific countries. The 2015 APEC Summit seeks to ‘greenwash’ the continuing wholesale of the region’s vast natural wealth, the destruction of their environments, and the intensification of chronic mass poverty and inequity, with such flowery slogans as ‘building sustainable and resilient economies’,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

The APEC, composed of 21 member economies representing 60 percent of the world’s total GDP and 3 billion of the world’s total population, is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to promote globalization policies across the Asia-Pacific region.

The forum also represents 70 percent of global mining production and consumption, and 60 percent of world energy demand, making its adopted economic, social and environmental thrusts globally pivotal.

“With the Philippines as host to APEC, Pres. Noynoy Aquino will most likely trumpet the massive energy privatization and mining liberalization trends that he has pushed over the past five years, but will systematically omit the dirty details. Mining liberalization increased the number of large-scale mining operations from 17 to 46 over the past 20 years, but promoted a criminally negligent policy regime that caused on average an annual significant mine spill or full-blown mine disaster over the same time period,” Bautista explained.

“Energy privatization, meanwhile, has led to a 348 percent increase in the installed generating capacity of dirty coal power plants from 1997 to 2012, mainly through foreign investments. This coincides with the alarming trend of the top global polluter countries simply shifting their fossil fuel investments towards Third World economies such as the Philippines to avoid the carbon emission caps in their respective domestic industries,” Bautista furthered.

The environmental group noted the two industry trends alone had a major impact on the worsening vulnerability of grassroots communities in the Philippines to the intensifying impacts of global warming and climate change.

“The increase in foreign capital-driven coal production and consumption in the Philippines means the top polluter countries are still on a ‘more business than usual’ trend, jeopardizing the urgent needs for deep and drastic cuts in global carbon emissions to curb the climate crisis. On the other end of the climate crisis, the increasing number and severity of extreme rainfall events and typhoons induced by climate change will most likely be amplified by toxic spills, forest denudation, and other adverse environmental and socio-economic impacts of liberalized large-scale mining,” said Bautista.

Buildup activities by 2015 APEC Summit have already shown glimpses of what the economic forum has in store for these controversial industries. A new APEC fund was launched last August with an initial USD 958,000 contribution from member country Australia, which aimed to fund projects that will further the mining liberalization policy regimes across the region.

Meanwhile, the latest statements of the APEC Energy Working Group are focusing on liberalizing green energy technologies through tariff cuts, but are deathly silent on the need for actual cuts in fossil fuel consumption and ensuring state control and regulation to address the effects of power privatization.

“The APEC clearly promotes profit over the interests of people and the entire planet. The lives, livelihood and environment of the majority of the Filipino people and the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region at large is what’s at stake here, and it will take our united people’s struggles to take back our economies and policies away from imperialist and corporate interests,” ended Bautista.

Kalikasan said they will be mobilizing under the People’s Campaign against APEC and Imperialist Globalization (PCAIG), a broad, multi-sectoral and global campaign gearing to challenge the economic and policy thrusts of the 2015 APEC Summit.###

Reference: Clemente Bautista, 0922 844 9787