On the 4th of March, 2020, The Center for Environmental Law & Community Rights Inc, presented a petition to the Rt. Honorable James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, imploring the government of the day to cease all coal related projects and proposed plans in PNG.
Papua New Guinea is one of the few nations in the world that rely, primarily, on clean energy (hydro-electricity) and the prospect of mining coal and producing coal powered energy in Papua New Guinea, is a hard fact to reconcile in the midst of the climate change emergency the world is facing in the present.
CELCOR believes that Papua New Guinean government and its state agencies, should not encourage nor allow the coal industry to be developed in this nation. Coal should not be an option for alternate energy and coal development projects should be discouraged, based on the facts that;
- Coal alone adds a significant amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per unit of heat energy, more than the combustion of other fossil fuels that pose imminent threats to the worlds global climate forecast today.
- Papua New Guinea cannot deny the fact that the climate change emergency is evident. Not only in the Smaller Island States, but in PNG as well. Lest we forget that Papua New Guinea is host to one of the world’s first climate change refugees in the Carterets Island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, who began relocating their population, in early 2000 to the mainland Bougainville because of the rising sea level.
- PNG is a signatory to international agreements (Kyoto Protocol & COP21) on climate change where we agreed to adopt mechanisms to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Although PNG does not emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, as a member country, PNG must take the responsibility in contributing as a nation to mitigating this universal threat, by identifying ways we can minimize global warming and climate change.
- Pollution: in addition to air pollution that coal fired power facilities cause through the emission of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, water pollution is a real threat as result of the hazardous waste that will be produced from this power plant. For instance, the mercury emission that can travel long distances (in the air), will eventually land in the water and land thus creating unsafe and hazardous water sources for many people living within and down the streams.
- This is highly disturbing as in Papua New Guinea, as we still lack the guiding policy that governs the disposal of such hazardous waste and even in highly developed coal powered nations like the United States of America, Great Britain and Europe for instance, there are recommendations that coal combustion waste management, needs to be guided by legislation, which PNG lacks.
Coal is dirty energy and has no modern-day relevance in the world currently, given the climate crisis the planet is facing at present. Coal should not be considered as a viable option of energy in our nation when we are blessed with an abundance of renewable resources available in the likes of hydroelectricity, biomass, geothermal, and solar, which can be utilized to achieve the country’s target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Let’s take back PNG sustainably without diminishing the quality of life of the future generations of Papua New Guineans.