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Duterte backs coal plants

President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines will continue to use coal in power generation but will implement new technologies to minimize emissions.

“But for as long as the most viable fuel is coal and cheapest so that the power can also be delivered the energy to the people at a much lower price, then we’ll have no other alternative except to upgrade the technology to its fullest―to limit,” Duterte said during a visit to Sarangani for the groundbreaking of the coal plant of Alsons Consolidated Resources Corp.

“At this time, whoever is the president of the Philippines would always contend with coal. There’s so much coal still that can be utilized by civilization for the next 50 to 70 years. And to be worrying about pollution, well, we just have to come to terms with that in our time, in our generation, it is really what it is. There is nothing you can do about it,” Duterte said.

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The president said the use of coal for power continued to face challenges.

“And as a matter of fact, the new one is really the movement to limit or do away with coal whether liquidized or you burn it solid. But the problem is, there is no alternative in the price, money,” Duterte said.

He said the government wanted to balance the need for power and clean energy.

“We would like to have a clean planet but that would be impossible really to insist on it because civilization needs to have light. So you strike a happy balance,” he said.

Duterte also defended his decision not to sign the Paris Climate Change agreement on two reasons

“First, there is a five billion fund. The agreement does not state who gives it. It’s either the high―the  highest energy countries may do it but there is no compulsion. Second is if there is violation, it leaves it at that. There is no sanction at all,” he said.

“So we allow coal to come in because that is the cheapest and we are not that rich. So people would always cry about the prices, electricity,” Duterte said.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said Philippines was pushing for adaptation to climate change not mitigation. “What we want is adaptation on how we can improve the Philippine situation…We have to upgrade… We are requiring the new technology has to be used,” Cusi said.

Topics: President Rodrigo Duterte , coal power plants , Alsons Consolidated Resources Corp. , Paris Climate Change agreement , Climate change
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