China Light and Power’s debt to Asia's environment and peoples

Feature Story - 2005-04-20
Latest update: On 21 April, Greenpeace disrupted the construction of the internationally-funded BLCP coal power plant in Rayong Province of Thailand and demanded that the project be stopped immediately. Activists from Thailand, Philippines and Germany occupied the main crane of the coal power plant, hanging a banner with the message "Stop Coal!"

Greenpeace activists display a banner at CLP Power's Castle Peak in Hong Kong, one of the world's largest coal plants, to protest against their lack of investment in renewable energy.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia energy campaigners hold up a banner calling for a stop to the construction of a coal fired power plant in Rayong province on Thailand's eastern seaboard. Greenpeace activists occupied the site of the power plant and hung a banner from a working crane. The plant is a joint venture between Thailand's Banpu Plc and the Hong Kong based China Light and Power Company.

China Light and Power's (CLP) reliance on coal-fired power generation across Asia is estimated to have exacted a cost to the environment of around HK$30 billion in 2004 - three and a half times the group's 2004 profits.

CLP are not only Hong Kong's largest power company but also have extensive investments across the Asia-Pacific region. The problem is that most of these investments are in coal plants. CLP continue to ignore the impacts of using this dirty energy source, instead of investing in a clean, sustainable renewable energy source like wind power. If CLP were to switch their investment from dirty to clean energy, this would help to overturn the damage they had caused the environment and the peoples that live in and would help give us all a better future.

If CLP continue to 'stick their heads in the sand' by burning coal in the region, carbon dioxide will continue to accumulate in the atmosphere warming our planet even more and causing ever more drastic changes to our climate

According to European Commission research, coal power has negative impacts on human health, global warming, amenity loss, building materials and ecosystems due to pollution released from power stations. The economic losses that this damage causes, or the additional cost of cleaning up the problems, are not paid by the company causing the pollution. These costs are normally referred to as 'external' costs. Across Asia, the parent CLP Group's fossil fuel projects cost society an estimated of 29.8 billion Euros (HK$ 30 billion).

In 2004 CLP made HK$8.6 billion in profit, much of it from coal powered electricity generation. In addition, over the last century, CLP has emitted over 540 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from its plants. This simple equation is proof that CLP's profits come at the cost of our climate.

CLP is currently developing more coal projects in mainland China and across the Asia-Pacific region.  In comparison to their planned fossil fuel expansion, the company's investment in clean renewable energy alternatives is next to nothing.

CLP is burning our future. People are dying now as a result of coal burning. Catastrophic climate change will put millions of lives at risk. CLP is at the heart of the problem and their current plans will make things much worse.

CLP must end its investment in new coal capacity at once and immediately switch to a program of massive clean renewable energy development.  CLP's profits are costing the public and costing the Earth - the destruction has to stop.