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Borneo Coal Plant Poses Triple Threat, Locals Issue SOS

Source:Change.org
Published:7/13/2010 5:00:05 PM
Views:550 -25%
Clicks:20

Summary

It's hard to think of a worse place to build a coal-fired power plant than a strip of pristine beach nestled between Borneo's rich rainforests and its Coral Triangle, one of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world. Unfortunately, that's exactly where the Malaysian government is now fast-tracking the construction of a new 300 megawatt facility. Local villagers, who may be displaced, are unsurprisingly against the project, and a growing number of international organizations are now jumping into the fray. Together, they have formed a collective known as SOS Borneo to call attention to the potentially catastrophic consequences of the planned plant. It's not only the global warming emissions these groups are concerned about. If the plant is built, transmission lines may cut through the rainforest. Jamie Henn, with 350.org, writes that residents of the rainforest include endangered species such as orangutans, Borneo pygmy elephants, and the last 40 Bornean rhinos in the world. In addition, sulfur dioxide pollution and acid rain also pose threats to the forest, to local fisheries and to the Coral Triangle area, which is home to three-quarters of the world's coral species. The good news is that Borneo has energy options other than dirty coal. A University of California Berkeley audit found that a combination of energy efficiency improvements, biofuels (from palm plantation waste), hydropower, and geothermal would be better than a fossil-fueled plant. In the long-term, solar and ocean energy could provide enough power for the island and bring needed green jobs to boot. Interestingly, Jeremy Hance reported for Mongabay that locals in the area are afraid their landscape will end up mimicking the degradation in American coal states, where air and water pollution, deforestation, mining have devastated the ecosystem. It's too bad America has to be the model for how not to generate energy. Let's hope Borneo can be an example of how to do things the right way. As Henn sums up, "Stopping this coal plant is about more than protecting one strip of beach, it's a symbol of a global fight to protect our increasingly fragile planet against the onslaught of dirty energy from the island of Borneo to the Gulf of Mexico." Sign this petition to issue your SOS, and tell Malaysian officials to stop this destructive coal plant. Photo credit: Chi King Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. READ MORE


rainforest, emission, solar energy, biofuel, forest, hydropower

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