Environment advocate highlights health hazards of coal

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According to Greenpeace, more than a third of the energy used to generate electricity in the Philippines comes from burning coal.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Deaths caused by diseases from coal-related pollution in the country could rise by more than 50 percent in the next 15 years, a new report says.

The study, conducted by Greenpeace Philippines with research from the Harvard Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group said illnesses from coal emissions may result in over 2,400 premature deaths from stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

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According to Greenpeace Southeast Asia official Reuben Muni, more than a third of the energy used to generate electricity in the country comes from burning coal.

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The country has 26 operational coal-fired power plants, according to Greenpeace. The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved 29 more, which will begin commercial operations by 2020.

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Studies show an upward trend in coal emissions among Asian countries, including Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines.

In contrast, Shannon Koplitz from the Harvard group pointed out a significant decline in coal emissions in the U.S. and Europe as countries shift to renewable energy sources.

Koplitz added Southeast Asia's coal emissions are likely to surpass that of the U.S.