By Newspaper Hispaniola
Saturday 10 December 2016, 10:30 a.m.
Scientist Mark Chernaik, head of the scientific team of the Global Environmental Law Alliance (ELAW), warned that if Punta Catalina works on coal, the Dominican Republic will be unable to meet its commitments to the Paris Agreement on Change Climate.
Santo Domingo.- Chernaik issued a warning in a video conference broadcast from Oregon, USA, to an audience of local experts, academics, political leaders, lawmakers, businessmen from the electricity sector and leaders of environmental organizations that met last Wednesday 7, At the Pedro Mir Library of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, UASD.
This activity was organized by the Institute of Lawyers for the Protection of the Environment, INSAPROMA and the National Committee to Combat Climate Change, CNLCC.
The scientist stated that if Punta Catalina were to be maintained with coal, it would be necessary to reduce emissions by more than 19 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, which would mean reducing around 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide per person. He considered that this is practically impossible.
He recalled that the Dominican Republic committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 25% by 2030, or reducing 3.6 tons of CO2 per person to 2.7 tons of CO2 per person.
“This objective is impossible to achieve since Punta Catalina operating with coal will emit 6.34 million tons of CO2 per year, which means 0.50 tons of CO2 per person, which would have to add to the 3.6 tons of CO2 per person currently Are issued, “he said.
He explained that in order to achieve this target of 2.7 tonnes of CO2 per person per year by 2030, total emissions of CO2 should be reduced by 1.4 tonnes of CO2 per person, representing a reduction of around 19 million tonnes C02.
He said that if Punta Catalina is converted to natural gas, the emissions would be reduced to half that produced with coal. “Punta Catalina’s emissions to natural gas would be 3.8 million tons of CO2 a year and not 6.34 million tons of CO2 if it were coal,” he said.
Mark Chernaik, Ph.D. in biology at Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in law from the University of Oregon, USA, with 16 scientific reports prepared to date and legal assistance to the Supreme Courts of eight countries on several continents, considered that for the Dominican Republic climate change must be prioritized as a small island state in an area of intense cyclonic activity, permanently threatened by hydrometeorological events such as tropical waves, droughts, storms and hurricanes.
He stressed that the replacement of coal by natural gas at Punta Catalina would save the country more than $ 400 million a year by 2030 for damages related to CO2 emissions.
He said that according to the parameters of the US Environmental Agency, EPA, the economic costs of climate change in productive systems, human health and others would be for the Dominican Republic of more than 110 million dollars by 2020 and social costs could Reaching 2030 to more than 152 million dollars. “We are talking that if this thermo electric plant would be converted to natural gas, there would be a total savings of more than 400 million dollars by 2030.”
He indicated that the worst damage caused by the combustion of coal in human health is the emission of micro particles PM2.5, with risks of premature deaths directly related to the amount of these particles spread in the air.
“Even assuming the best conditions and the most efficient equipment of particle retention does not mean that they will be used at Punta Catalina, these coal plants will emit 100 tons of microparticles every year. With natural gas there is no such risk, “he said.
He informed that each ton of microparticles PM 2.5, will have a health cost between 140 thousand and 310 thousand dollars a year, which multiplied by one hundred tons that will be emitted by Punta Catalina will cause a health expenditure between 14 and 31 million dollars a year , which would be saved if the plants run on natural gas.
Chernaik pointed out that the Dominican Republic can not ignore for any reason the importance of climate change and the costs to the country of climate-related events.
He cited as an example that Hurricane Georges of 1998 produced damages for 14% of GDP in 1997, while the Olga and Noel storms in 2007 produced damages equivalent to 1.2% of GDP and 5.3% of the national budget, and now , the country is facing flood damage that is likely to exceed $ 9.4 billion in agriculture, roads, energy, housing, education, industry and commerce, sanitation, drainage, health and the environment.