Accepted Paper:

Of seismic shifts and the reclaiming of "power". Current Disputes over Fossil Fuel-based Energy Generation and Climate Change in the Philippines  
Elisabeth Schober (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

Electricity is a fragile good in the Philippines, where government and corporations are pushing for coal as the solution to the country’s energy problems. With climate change taking a heavy toll, the political, economic and environmental dilemmas that are entangled with power generation are immense.

Paper long abstract:

Electricity is a fragile good in the Philippines, where governmental and corporate forces are primarily pushing for coal as the solution to the country's precarious energy situation. With climate change increasingly taking a heavy toll, the political, economic and environmental dilemmas that are entangled with electric power generation in the archipelago are immense. While average temperatures are steadily pointing upwards, substantially more energy will be needed in the Philippines in order to cope with the heat to come. Due to increased economic activities, the energy spending in the country has recently also grown substantially, with the Philippines nowadays often considered to be on the brink of "taking off". In brief, this is a country with an ever growing need for energy, while the actual supply available still proves to be both unreliable and expensive. Optimistic predictions on how rapidly the economy will grow are often used to conjure up images of an impending energy crisis that needs to be tackled head-on. These state-endorsed arguments entail a stress on how the Philippines needs to invest into improving its electricity supply now, and forget about environmental or climate change related concerns to safeguard its future. NGOs and civil society actors, on the other hand, take the opposite approach, with "climate justice" and "energy democracy" having become key terms in their repertoire over recent years. Exemplified by conflicts around coal-fueled power plants in Bataan and Zambales, this paper will look into the double-bind between economic growth and sustainability the Philippines faces today.

Panel P12
Inequality and Climate Justice in an Overheated World