21,000 sign ‘Say no to coal Ja’ petition — JETThursday, November 03, 2016
KINGSTON, Jamaica —The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) today reported that more that 21,000 people have signed a petition requesting that the Government refuses the proposal to construct a 1000MW coal-fired power plant in Jamaica.
The petition, titled ‘Say no to coal Ja’, was started on October 14 and ran until November 1. JET said it attracted an overwhelming amount of local and international support and will be delivered to Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Friday.
The organisation, in a release today, said the the Government should “…continue the transition to a new energy future for Jamaica as outlined in many Government documents, which emphasise energy conservation, renewables and liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transitional fuel for Jamaica”.
The petition is response to the sale of the old Alpart bauxite plant at Nain in St Elizabeth to Jiuquan Iron & Steel (Group) Company Limited (JISCO) in July and a US$2 billion investment in an industrial zone, powered by a 1000 megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant, which is expected to create 3,000 jobs.
“A 1000MW coal-fired plant exceeds Jamaica’s entire current generating capacity which is presently about 850MW,” JET said in the release.
Meanwhile, said JET CEO Diana McCaulay expressed concern that coal-fired plants have several negative impacts on public health and the environment.
She explained that “coal plant emissions cause respiratory illness in humans, and affect the environment by creating acid rain and contributing to global Climate Change. Coal, in fact, is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels. It emits far greater quantities of carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels”.
Carbon dioxide emissions represent the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which are blamed for global warming trends associated with Climate Change.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 59 per cent of all sulphur dioxide and 18 per cent of all oxides from nitrogen emissions come from coal-fired power plants.
In April 2015, Jamaica was among 150 nations to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which signalled the commitment of the international community to combat climate change and its wide-ranging effects.
“The #SayNOtoCoalJA petition also calls on the GOJ to abide by their commitments to the Paris Agreement, which requires phased reduction of GHGs. The building of the proposed coal fired plant would be in direct contradiction to that agreement,” said McCaulay.
Coal fired power plants also typically emit a host of other pollutants besides carbon dioxide. The possible mercury, lead, arsenic, sulphur dioxide, dust and soot emissions associated with a coal-fired power plant also have significant impacts on public and environmental health, the release added.