This is a response to ‘Why 100% renewable energy generation plan won’t work (The Island of Sept. 29) and ‘Ranil Senanayake and the Port City Project (The Island of Sept. 26).
The global concern on burning coal for energy production began around 2013 when the realization of the impact coal has on our health and the environment began to sink in.At that time, five Nordic countries pledged to stand with the US in ending public finance for new coal-fired power plants overseas.Last Friday in a joint U.S.-China statement on Climate Change, China signaled it would take similar steps to those already promised by the United States, the World Bank and others to end coal financing overseas. In this light, when the whole world is looking at coal as a rotten way to produce energy we have a cheering squad, still promoting the use of coal in this country. While the interest of the commission agents are obvious, the question of is the donor ourfriend?must be posed against offers for coal fired power plants ? Are these really the gifts or opportunities? If we are being offered a gift of a poisoned apple is that a gift of a friend? Especially if the gift giver has millions of souls suffering in their own countries as a consequence of burning coal? There is the whine that “Renewable energy requires more upfront investment than fossil fuels, which on the other hand are cheaper to operate.” How is it that these ‘generous’ donors will give us the upfront investment for coal fired power plants but are unwilling to give us upfront investment for renewable energy ? It is indeed the duty of the government to consider the future and design effectively for the well being of the nation. To not invest in upgrading our energy production systems and rely on precarious fossil fuels does not seem to be an intelligent option. When this whine comes from within the lender of money, the ADB, one wonders about the impartiality and transparency of their officers on whose advice investment loans are given. This is just as bad the‘scientist’ who is enamored by building islands to alleviate in a ’big way’ the pollution by coal oil gas and even nuclear energy. It seems that these islands have a patent that does not allow this scientist to say anything about it. But he doesgo on to defend the ‘Port City’ by stating that its pollution will be absorbed by the sea. This ‘scientist’ then goes on to say that : “The responsible and technical people running China today will not come to our country and spoil it for you and for the other citizens. I cannot believe that they are ignorantly building this (Port City) to make money without environmental safeguards. ” Try, Mattala airport, Hambantota port, etc. And hello… there was no EIA for the Port City project, how responsible was that ?The belief in the ‘responsible and technical people running China today’ is indeedeye-opening statement. Are therereally Sri Lankans who believe in the kind, gentle, non-commercial interests of the Chinese loans or is the writer a Chinese? To have blind faith without ‘first examining if it is true’ maybe all right for religion but for a commercial or nationaloperation, it reeks of danger. Due diligence seems to have somehow missed our friends! This kind of response does not reduce my anxiety; it only serves to increase it! Of the energy article I must conclude by noting that an expert in energy economics had once said; “a shop carrying about 50,000 tons coal will come once in every eight days.” It might have been a typo, but it is indeed a shop that will be coming every eight days, a shop that brings goodies for the agents, their political hangers on and the various ‘commission kakkas’ that hang around the dark and dismal trade in coal. It is a shop where our health and are children’s health is sold for a quick profit in selling coal.