Greenpeace response to 18th June, 2005 CLP letter

Feature Story - 2005-07-22
I refer to the letter from CLP’s Jane Lau, headlined ' Greenpeace used misleading figures to accuse CLP' (June 18) in which CLP continue to try to hide their heavy reliance on coal fired power generation. It is clear from CLP’s recent letters that they are more interested in arguing about numbers than people's lives. All over Asia the group's primary interest is fossil fuel led by coal. Even though CLP selectively use coal data from their 2004 annual report, the company cannot hide the fact that coal occupies the key portion of its fossil fuel burning.

CLP cannot dispute their addiction to fossil fuels. They are currently building new coal-fired power plants in Asia. Burning fossil fuels, with coal being the dirtiest, is the root cause of climate change. As CLP increase their coal burning capacity, carbon dioxide emissions will continue to escalate, and the impacts of climate change will increase in severity and scope.

Climate change is widely recognised to be the greatest threat that our planet faces. "[The world has] already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere...Climate change is for real. We have just a small window of opportunity and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment to lose". Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

According to the World Health Organization, climate change impacts are already claiming around 160,000 human lives globally every year, through, for example, extreme weather events, disease and malnutrition. The reinsurance group Munich Re have studied the costs of climate impacts for the period 1950 to the present day, and found that the cost is roughly doubling every decade. If it continues to grow at this rate, the cost of damage caused by climate change will exceed global gross domestic product as early as 2065.

As a global organisation, Greenpeace focuses on the most crucial worldwide threats to our planet's biodiversity and environment, in order to secure a green and peaceful future for all of us. Climate change is the number one threat to humanity and to our planet. Therefore we urge CLP to recognise and act upon their corporate responsibility for averting further dangerous climate change by shifting their coal investment to clean and renewable energy.

Robin Oakley, Climate & Energy Campaign Manager, Greenpeace China