Greenpeace slams ASEAN's energy direction as 'recipe for disaster'

The environmental group Greenpeace slammed on Friday the conclusions emerging from a meeting of South-East Asian energy ministers for "committing the region to a dirty energy future.

Greenpeace slams ASEAN's energy direction as 'recipe for disaster'
The environmental group Greenpeace slammed on Friday the conclusions emerging from a meeting of South-East Asian energy ministers for "committing the region to a dirty energy future.

"The communique, issued at the end of the gathering of ministers from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), "pays lip service to the critical issue of climate change, poses huge safety risks to the population and results in trillions of dollars in future fuel costs," a Greenpeace statement said.

Nuclear power was a hot topic at Thursday's gathering. The ministers for the first time established, in principle, a body to explore safety issues.

They also moved towards achieving an integrated power grid connecting all 10 countries and singled out as priorities energy efficiency, seeking alternatives to fossil fuels by investing in research and sustaining a clean environment.

The grouping for the first time included nuclear energy in its plans, as well as buying into the "clean coal" myth, Greenpeace said. It also said no concrete energy efficiency targets were mentioned.

"The only positive move is a commitment to deriving 10 per cent of the region's power from renewable energy sources by 2010," the statement said, adding the commitment has been in place since 2004.

Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand have announced plans to tap nuclear energy in a bid to meet growing electricity needs and reduce dependence on oil and natural gas.

Following the meeting, Thai Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand said, "It is inevitable that eventually, countries will have to come back to nuclear energy in a big way. Otherwise it will be difficult to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

He estimated it could be seven years before Thailand begins construction.

Greenpeace maintains the only pathway to a sustainable future for ASEAN is phasing out coal, forgetting nuclear power and massively investing in the region's abundant renewable energy resources, said Athena Ballesteros, Greenpeace International climate and energy campaigner.

"Wrong energy choices made now will take decades to overturn," said Greenpeace. "The international consensus tells us that we have less than 10 years to begin to reduce average annual temperatures to levels that don't commit us to irreversible climate change impacts."

"ASEAN's developing member nations will be among those most severely impacted by climate change," Greenpeace warned.

A joint report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council said adopting nuclear power proposals are very dangerous due to the inherent risks nuclear power poses in addition to ASEAN's geologically unstable areas and governance problems.

Investing in a renewable energy future will save 10 times the fuel costs of a "business as usual" fossil-fuelled scenario, it said, saving 180 billion US dollars annually and cutting carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2030.

ASEAN comprises Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma).

The South-East Asian region ranks third highest in carbon dioxide emissions among developing countries, following China and India.

DPA
Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2007, 19:16
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