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Stop New Fossil Fuel Projects!

Dating back to the early 20th century, there are two existing coal-fired power plants operating at full capacity of 100 and 270 Megawatts (MWs) respectively. The first plant was built by Cambodia Energy Ltd, a local subsidiary of Malaysia’s Leader Universal Ltd, which started in 2014. The second plant was built by a joint venture between Cambodia International Investment Development Group (CIIDG) and China-based Erdos Hongiun Electric Power Co., Ltd. This second coal-fired power station came on stream in 2015 and is growing to a larger power generation capacity worth millions of USD which is enough to generate 700MWs of electricity to sustain local electricity consumption. The possibility of this expansion depends solely on the availability of imported coal from Indonesia, Cambodia’s main coal exporter and one of the world’s largest coal producers.

This is not over yet, as the demand for electricity consumption is increasing, so the supply must be available. In order not to be solely dependent on the import of electricity from neighboring countries, domestic production must be expanded. In addition to the two existing coal-fired power plants. currently, the Royal Government of Cambodia is planning to build another third coal-fired power plant in the same area. It will be designated as the third approved coal-based power generation facility in the Kingdom located in the southern coastal area of ​​Sihanoukville. The entire set was handed over to the Japanese company, Toshiba Plant System and Service Cooperation (TPSC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Japanese electronics giant Toshiba, will build the turnkey power plant for Cambodian Energy II Co Ltd (CEL2), the plant will operate at full capacity of 150 MW once completed. The construction will be carried out in full collaboration with TPSC Engineering Malaysia and TPSC from Thailand. The contract has been awarded by Cambodia Energy II Company Limited, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s Leader Universal Holdings which operates the existing first coal-fired power plant as reported. Electricity generation will be purchased by Electricité du Cambodge (Electricity of Cambodia), a state-owned enterprise operating under the full direct supervision of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the revenue and profit manager. and Ministry of Mines and Energy, the energy and electricity policy maker of the Royal Government of Cambodia. TPSC and its group companies will be responsible for the overall project including engineering, procurement of equipment, construction work, installation, testing and commissioning. TPSC will manage the entire project and engineering, its subsidiary in Malaysia will be responsible for the procurement of equipment and its subsidiary in Thailand will handle the construction. At another development site, Pöyry, a Finnish engineering company, was contracted to assist with the design review of the pan, site supervision, assurance and quality control services, project management and commissioning. power plant.

There has been contentious global debate about ending the continued trend of fossil fuel projects. That is, the use of fossil fuels for energy production should be abolished at all costs to preserve the well-being of the environment. The real question that got me thinking is that “Why should the third approved coal fired power station be stopped?” when it is important to Cambodia’s energy sector. To comprehensively answer these questions, one would have to determine the true cost of burning coal to produce energy, basically in the form of electricity. The advantages of burning fossil fuels such as coal for the country’s economy can be seen less than the disadvantages posed to the environment and ecology are analyzed as follows:

First, coal dust contributes to heart and lung disease, as well as being a hazard to aquatic life and reducing water quality when coal leaks from the storage tank. It looks worse when the coal ship was completely submerged in water. Other means of transporting carbon on land can also be hazardous to humans, land animals and plants when transported improperly.

Second, coal is known as the non-renewable and unsustainable energy source with limited availability of total global carbon reserves lasting only 134 years at current consumption rate and could emit nearly 2000 Gt of CO2 emissions if all were used. Coal has been identified as the deadliest source of electricity on earth killing up to 280,000 people per 1000 terawatt hours of electricity produced, as coal combustion alone is responsible for 46% of global CO2 emissions and accounts for 72% of total. greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. CO2, once released into the sky, traps heat from the sun in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise over time.

Third, coal, when burned, produces CO2 more than many other poisonous gases, such as nitrogen oxide (NO) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), all of which are harmful to health and air freshness. Nitrous oxide released from a quantity of burning coal, along with SO2, cause acid rain when both gases come into contact with rainwater. The effects of acid rain on the ecosystem can be found in the fish and wildlife seen most clearly in the aquatic environment. Acid rain also releases aluminum as it flows through the soil into lakes and other irrigation systems. Plants and animals, some types, are acid toxic, they are sensitive to acids, this sensitivity causes danger to their lives as some species that live in water, including fish and frogs, can live below a certain pH level. When acid rain destroys the pH level in the water, although some types of species are acid tolerant, this does not mean that the other animals or plants they eat are one. Another effect of acid rain on trees and plants can be seen with trees and plants dying. Acid rain removes nutrients and minerals from the soil causing the death of plants and trees that rely most on these elements for their life development. Acid rain destroys the sustainability of infrastructure and buildings over a long period of time. This problem can be seen in Cambodia as a country with a glorious culture left over from ancient times, thousands of Buddhist and Hindu temples were built thousands of years ago to this day, many temples look in very bad condition, and some others have become completely collapsed. Acid rain is one of the main causes of this architectural destruction not to mention human activities and natural disasters. All these are just some of the effects among many others that can be easily captured.

Fourth, despite causing acid rain, nitrogen oxide along with carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide trap smoke in the atmosphere in the form of smog and haze. Inhaling poisonous air affects human health, mainly causing fatal respiratory diseases such as asthma, aggravation (exacerbation) of pre-existing respiratory disease and causing the development or progression of chronic diseases such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. Coal is a major contributor to air pollution that kills about 7 million people a year, and both mining, preparing, transporting and burning coal are highly polluting, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In terms of air pollution and environmental destruction, coal is the worst fossil fuel among others. CO2 and carbon monoxide (CO) released from a certain amount of completely and incompletely burned coal respectively, once released into the atmosphere, weaken the ozone layer and trap sunlight in the earth’s atmosphere, resulting in global warming planet. So the more greenhouse gas emissions are released into the sky, the warmer the world will be. As long as the ozone layer is not fully functional, the earth will be warmer by attracting more UV light that causes sunburn. At a point where global warming reaches its peak causing drought, i.e. when crops and plants will face difficult seasonal growing conditions, it results in a decrease in food supply as opposed to an increase in food demand.

Fifth, another major consequence like what the world is experiencing is sea level rise. Those of the icebergs floating on the surface of the Arctic Ocean and possibly the entire North Pole will gradually melt as the temperature continues to rise to its maximum point. The same phenomena apply to the large icebergs in the Antarctic continent that consists of the South Pole. These major global natural disasters will then cause devastating floods that kill hundreds of thousands of lives on land.

Sixth, environmental sustainability is worsened by the clearing of forests for land concessions and the construction of coal-fired plants. Deforestation destroys the best oxygen producer (O2) and CO2 absorber, while leaving many families displaced. Peoples are forced away in the form of migration to the urban area, resulting in the overwhelming urban population leading to the process of urbanization that later causes social insecurity and instability. With that said, carbon is harmful to all living things on earth, from animals, humans and plants. Health will decline and people’s well-being will subsequently decline with the use of more and more coal.

Seventh, coal-fired plant stations indirectly affect the tourist destination. Since almost all of the coal plant is located in the coastal area of ​​Sihanoukville, the coastal tourist area is disastrously polluted by coal plants that reduce the air quality forcing local and international visitors to reconsider their destination. Subsequently, the financial income of the Kingdom from the tourism sector will decrease. Local residents are also affected by the polluted air they breathe every day.

Eighth, in addition, the import of coal, such as the case of Cambodia, leaves the country to be overly dependent on a foreign exporter. This political economy consequence leads the home country to rely heavily on the availability and accessibility of coal consumption, otherwise the country would fall into a deep energy problem.

With all that said, coal is a good use for energy and is economically viable. However, it is extremely bad for the environment and lives on planet earth. Therefore, countries should reconsider the licensing of any coal-related project in the form of exploration, production, import and consumption and shift to relying more on renewable and sustainable sources of energy production.

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