– The New York Times, "Font of Natural Energy In the Philippines, Crippled by Nature" (via inothernews)
Clouds of steam surge from fissures in the earth along the beds of mountain streams here that splash down slopes carpeted with coconut palm forests, hints of the enormous source of renewable energy that lies underground.
Engineers have drilled a series of boreholes a mile down into hot volcanic rocks, tapping into superheated water under enormous pressure. The water surges to the surface, expands into steam and then cools, spinning a series of turbines that produce five times as much electricity as all of Leyte Island, with 1.5 million people, can consume. The rest of the electricity is sold to other islands in the Philippines.
Or at least that is the way it is supposed to work. When Typhoon Haiyan barreled across Leyte Island almost two weeks ago with a tsunami-like storm surge and nearly tornado-strength winds, killing thousands of people and effortlessly tearing the roofs off homes, it also damaged the crucial geothermal operations here.
For many in the Philippines, the damage here exemplifies a broader paradox: A storm consistent with some scientists’ warnings about climate change has done tremendous damage to an island that is one of the world’s biggest success stories of renewable energy, and to a country that has contributed almost nothing to the global accumulation of greenhouse gases.
“Many Filipino families have become climate refugees,” said Senator Loren Legarda, the chairwoman of the Philippine Senate’s standing committee on climate change. “We may not pollute the world, yet we are victims of extreme weather and climate change.””
“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….”
– Charlie Chaplin “The Great Dictator” (via psych-facts)