Originally posted on April 14, 2011.
In one of my discussion googlegroups today, someone posted a campaign, “Please sign: Stop sacrificing the environment and the people’s welfare on the altar of profit”. Portions of the campaign said,
We, environmental advocates, members of the clergy and churchworkers, citizens, and leaders representing various organizations committed to defending the Philippine environment, unite to declare publicly our growing dismay over the state of ecological destruction and human rights violations under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III….
We challenge President Aquino to stop this sacrifice of the environment and the people’s welfare on the altar of profit. We assert our calls for a genuinely pro-people, pro-environment and progressive policy of stewardship over our natural resources by pursuing the following specific demands:
1. Stop the liberalization of the Philippine mining industry.
2. Stop the killings and human rights violations of environmental advocates.
3. Cancel the permits and operations of big commercial logging firms in addition to the logging moratorium.
4. Impose a moratorium on the construction of new coal power plants.
5. Reject the proposal to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
6. Scrap the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.
The writers and endorsers of this campaign possibly forgot that the President came from the Liberal Party, not from the Socialist Party or a Nationalist or Anti-globalization Party.
A liberal, in the classic liberal tradition or even the current European liberalism philosophy, respects the free enterprise system, not more business regulations, more prohibitions.
On their specific demands:
1. Stop the liberalization of mining industry — and leave the industry only to local politicians and companies? Among the best practitioners of sustainable mining practices are the big multinationals which have global corporate brands and have modern mining and geological technologies to optimize mining with minimal damage to the environment. If we prohibit them from coming in, the mineral potentials of the country at the time that prices of important commodities and mineral products are very high, as well as the creation of many locals jobs, will not be optimized.
2. Stop the killing and human rights violations of environmental advocates — I support this, we should support this. And not only environmental advocates, all political killings and human rights violations of ordinary citizens should be stopped. Especially by political warlords like the Ampatuans.
3. On commercial logging ban — and leave the forests to carabao logging, local politicians logging? People need wood, whether we like it or not. The poor especially as they cannot afford the steel and cement housing, or aluminum/steel/glass furnitures. No commercial logging means zero supply of wood from legitimate sources, wood prices shoot up, and the bigger the temptation to do illegal logging by local politicians and carabao logging to take advance of the high prices of wood.
Commercial logging, supervised by licensed foresters and connected with long-term business contracts, practice sustainable logging. A logging concession area is divided into several blocks. For a 20-years cycle for instance, only 1/20th of the entire logging area is cut and cleared for a year, the remaining 19/20th of the area has thick forest, forever. It is to their business interests that there are trees to cut every year, so they keep planting every year.
4. Moratorium on the construction of new coal power plants, reject nuke power plants — and what else to prohibit, natural gas plants, petrol oil plants? And what will the new houses, new factories, new schools, new offices, new shops and malls use, candles and firewood?
Many environmentalists advocate the renewables like wind, solar, biomass, etc. That’s why we have the RE law, and the business cronyism associated with it as it gives lots of incentives and guaranteed profit for the wind farms, solar farms. Our already expensive power prices will soon become even more expensive due to mechanisms like feed-in-tariffs (FIT) and renewable portfolio standards (RPS).
5. Scrapping of Japan-Philippines EPA — and go back to the old trade protectionism? That EPA is not exactly a free trade agreement (FTA) but it is better than going back to high protectionism.
The petition also mentioned the “Earth Hour”. As I posted in Earth Hour lunacy, part 2, I wrote to the top 2 honchos of WWF-EH, Atty. Ibay and Mr. Yan where I sent them my article why the EH is a lunatic idea, they have one standard reply: silence of the lamb. Then I wrote a comment at the EH website comment section, they censored it. I consider the WWF as a bunch of noisy but coward environmental activists.
If the WWF officials and other environmentalist groups will protest my assessment of them, then I am open to any public debate with them on climate science and policy, anytime, anywhere. Leave a note of challenge at the comment section here.