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Mobilizing for energy transition: Tactics from localized anti-coal movement in central Philippines
  • Laurence Delina
Laurence Delina
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Developing countries need sufficient, reliable, and affordable energy for economic development; yet, the source of this energy remains contested. In the Philippines, coal-based electricity supplies most of the country’s energy requirement; hence contravening the country’s energy transition agenda. Until the moratorium on new coal-fired power plant development in October 2020, the Philippine government aggressively pursued the development of the coal sector, labelling coal projects as nationally significant. With this policy direction, many local governments, including provinces and cities, had rallied around coal. Dissent against coal, nonetheless, was also prominent, with civil society often leading these mobilizations, and using the narrative of energy transition in their appeals. This poster describes one of these movements, focusing on civil society-business-and-ecclesial-led dissent on coal-based energy system for the province of Bohol in central Philippines. Using primary data from interviews and site observation, supplemented by social media and secondary data analysis, this poster describes the tactics of a localized, yet networked, anti-coal mobilisation while pursuing an energy transition agenda. Led by a trifecta of actors, including private citizens, businesspeople, and the clergy, the movement employed nonviolent approaches through network-building, letter-writing, and social media-campaigning. As a result, the provincial government of Bohol issued an ordinance banning future coal-based development in the province and resituating the energy transition agenda in local development.