Energy-hungry Cambodia shows no sign of backing down on coal

As Cambodia’s economy goes through a rapid expansion with foreign investments pouring in, the country is turning to polluting coal power to meet growing energy demands, risking the health of the people and the welfare of the environment.

At the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in November last year, many countries around the world made their pledges for the coal power phase-out to curb the global greenhouse gas emissions, and ultimately keep global temperature increases within 2°C or, if possible, to 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Environmental groups also called upon Southeast Asian countries to join the effort in order to keep the region safe from climate change‘s threats.

Coal-fired power plants are the most polluting way to produce electricity, and burning coal is the most prominent contributor to climate change. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 7 million people die every year due to air pollution, which is mainly caused by “the inefficient use of energy by households, industry, the agriculture and transport sectors, and coal-fired power plants.”

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