Jobs After Coal South Island Tour July 2014

UPDATE: Change of venue for Dunedin event on 29 July – now in Archway Lecture Theatre 2!

After the excellent reception given to CANA’s report Jobs After Coal at the Wellington launch in May, and a Christchurch event on 30 June which attracted at least 100 people, it’s time to take Jobs After Coal beyond the main centres – and we’re starting in the South Island in the final week of July. Check out the schedule below, get along if you can, and invite your friends and networks to hear Jeanette Fitzsimons explain how we can make a just transition away from coal mining while creating low carbon jobs and sustaining communities.

We’ll be creating Facebook events for each stop on the tour soon and we’ll link them here – watch out for them!

Download a copy of Jobs After Coal

Top of the South, 25-28 July

Blenheim, Friday 25 July: Marlborough Arts Society Gallery, High St, 7pm, contact Verena Maeder, verena_m@hotmail.com

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1428581224091256/

Motueka, Saturday 26 July:  St. Thomas Church, High St., Motueka, 7.30pm. Jeanette Fitzsimons speaks on Beyond Fossil Fuels: Transition to a New Economy. Contact Debs Martin, d.martin@forestandbird.org.nz

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1645936305631995/

Nelson, Sunday 27 July: NMIT Student Lounge, 6pm, contact Debs Martin, d.martin@forestandbird.org.nz – hosted by Forest & Bird.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/668361303246327/

Golden Bay: to be confirmed

Dunedin, Tuesday 29 July

(with Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rosemary Penwarden)

1pm, Archway Lecture Theatre 2 (*** note change in venue from Otago University Centre for Sustainability***), contact fatima.ibrahim-mckague@otago.ac.nz

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/251114788423387/

5.30pm, Otago Chamber of Commerce, “Reinvigorating the Economy: CleanTech Jobs and Low Carbon Opportunity”, contact blueskinenergy@gmail.com or events@otagochamber.co.nz

Invercargill, Wednesday 30 July, Federated Farmers Meeting Room, 70 Forth St

(with Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rosemary Penwarden)

6.30pm: Potluck tea
7.30pm: Networking
8.00pm: Presentation

Contact Jenny Campbell, jennycam@xtra.co.nz

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/590768507702648/

Mining decision a tragedy for Denniston plateau

DumpDennistonLogoCoalPress release

The news that Bathurst plans to start mining at Denniston on 1 July is a tragedy for the stunning ecology of the plateau, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.

“Not only is this a tragedy for the beautiful plateau, it is also a tragedy for the climate, as every new coal mine is stealing from our children’s future,” said Jeanette Fitzsimons, a spokesperson for CANA.
Continue reading

Solid Energy layoffs more evidence coal won’t provide secure jobs

Press release 6 June

Coal Action Network activist at the now mothballed Mataura briquetting plant - supposed to provide local jobs, but didn't.

Coal Action Network activist at the now mothballed Mataura briquetting plant – supposed to provide local jobs, but didn’t.

Further layoffs expected today at Solid Energy’s Stockton mine are a warning that coal cannot be relied on for community prosperity and jobs says Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA).

CANA’s new report, Jobs After Coal – a Just Transition for coal mining communities, released two weeks ago, documents the reasons for the world-wide decline in coal mining and argues strongly that workers should not be left to bear the burden of redundancies.

Jeanette Fitzsimons, one of the authors, said “Coal prices are not going up again any time soon, renewable energy is getting cheaper all the time, and climate change means that most of the coal currently available to mine can never be burned anyway.”

“This is all part of the ‘perfect storm’ Don Elder talked of before he resigned.”

“It is urgent to set in place a planning process for communities that are most affected. This should have been done two years ago when the redundancies started, rather than waiting until even more families are suffering.”

“The latest layoffs make it clear that communities cannot rely on a boom and bust industry for their job security.”

A “Just Transition” would provide central government help for a community-led process to analyse where the skills of miners can be transferred to other industries and develop local economic development based on local skills and opportunities.

“It needs to involve all parts of the community – councils, business, unions, iwi, polytechs, ngos,  to plan a future after coal.”

The report provides some snapshots of what other communities overseas have done to reinvent themselves after coal mining, and concludes that the West Coast could do the same with some government resources.

Coal communities deserve better than the “boom and bust” coal industry

We at Coal Action Network have a vision for Aotearoa:  that we are coal-free by 2027.  We’ve arrived at this date as it’s when all the current coal mines in operation around the country will reach their end date.

Our new report released today.

Our new report released today.

It doesn’t include new mines such as Bathurst’s plans for the beautiful Dennison Plateau, where operations have stalled and 29 workers were recently laid off as the coal price has plummeted in the face of a global oversupply.

But imagine if the Government was to draw a line in the sand and state that there would be no more coal mines in Aotearoa.  If they did that today,  this would give coal mining communities the time to adjust, to plan a transition away from coal that involved the entire community, and led to a sustainable future. Continue reading

Jobs After Coal Report Launch, Wellington, Thursday 22 May

Coal Action Network Aotearoa is launching a major new report – and you’re invited to the launch event.

jac_cover

Where: Wellington

When: Thursday 22 May, 12.30-1.30pm

VenueVictoria University of Wellington, Pipitea Campus, Rutherford House, Ground Floor, Lecture Theatre Two (RHLT2)

Speaker: Jeanette Fitzsimons, Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/782673118417557/

What’s it about:

Coal mining communities in New Zealand have recently faced major disruption, uncertainty and job losses as the industry suffers from falling prices, competition from renewable energy and mounting concern at the threat of climate change.

Globally and locally, we are on the brink of a transition from the old economy, based on fossil fuels, to a new future based on clean, renewable energy. Yet many hold on to the old for fear of job losses that will leave communities with a shattered economy and no options.

Jeanette will be launching “Jobs After Coal,” a report she has co-authored with other members of the Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA). The report argues that the role of coal in New Zealand’s economy is small; there are many options for jobs in the industries that will replace coal; skills of coal miners are transferable to other industries, and communities can reinvent themselves to regain a new prosperity after coal.

However, these positive outcomes depend on recognising the need for a proper and effective transition path and setting up a planned process within the community itself, including all stakeholders, with support from central and local government.

 

Revised_Jeanette Fitzsimons_CANA_22 May flyer

Coal industry tries to make divestment campaigns illegal: time to fight back

Fossil fuel divestment campaigns, such the joint CANA/350 Aotearoa Make the Switch campaign to get Westpac customers to switch banks because of Westpac’s financial support of coalminers Bathurst Resources, are catching on all round the world – and that’s because they work.

(If you’re a Westpac customer and you haven’t Made the Switch yet, you still can! And you can check out photos from Make the Switch week in early April, too.)

But because these campaigns are so effective, the mining companies are fighting back. In Australia, they are trying to get divestment campaigns made illegal – and if they succeed in Australia, it won’t be long before they try it on here.

So it’s time to support our Australian colleagues against the coal companies. Find out how below.

Australia’s coal industry is trying to make our fossil fuel divestment campaign and other boycotts illegal — and we need your help to push back:

Tell the Australian government that you are against a ban on divestment campaigns.

According to an article in the Guardian last week, “The powerful mining lobby is considering whether to join the push by resource industries to ban environmental boycott campaigns as it battles an escalating grassroots movement calling for banks, superannuation funds [i.e. pension funds] and institutions to ditch fossil fuel investments.”

The Minerals Council of Australia went on to call us a “small number of noisy extremists from creating the false impression that the community does not support Australia’s second-largest export sector.

Well, they got the noisy part right. But we are not small in number. And the real extremists are the fossil fuel companies that are willing to profit from polluting our countries and climate. We think it’s pretty reasonable to try to maintain a planet somewhat like the one we were born into — something that they refuse to do. Now we need to show the coal and mining companies, and the Australian government, that we’re not backing down from this campaign. Instead, we are going to turn up the heat.

Let’s show them that we’re anything but a small group of extremists. The divestment movement is a huge global network of school teachers, religious leaders, students, parents, and regular people who think it’s time to invest in a real future and a livable climate.

Click here and stand with the divestment movement in Australia. We will make sure we deliver your comments and bring global pressure to bear on the Australian government.

As Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”  No longer are we being ignored. No longer are we being laughed at. Now, the fight is on, and they clearly underestimated us.

We can win this, but we need your support to make this happen.

The real deal on Westpac’s coal funding

It's not to late to change banks in time for our week of action.

It’s not to late to change banks in time for our week of action.

When we started our campaign against Westpac because of its investment in Bathurst Resources, the company bit back.

No, no, we don’t invest in Denniston, they said.

We were investing in Bathurst before they were planning Denniston, they said.

The facilities we have with them relate to their existing operations, they said. Nothing to do with Denniston, they said.

While we have written to Westpac to clarify all of these points, we haven’t heard back.  They’ve gone silent, instead promoting their so-called sustainability.  But Bathurst’s half yearly report, released recently, is very useful and has provided all the information we think we need.

It certainly doesn’t tell us anything that would lead us to call off the campaign, as Westpac thinks we should.

The Bathurst report (page 18) goes into great detail on its relationship with Westpac  – perhaps in response to our campaign.  Here’s the detail on Westpac from that report:

“In July 2012, the Group obtained a finance facility with Westpac New Zealand Limited for the acquisition of a new mining fleet. The total amount available and drawn on the facility as at 31 December 2013 was $3.5 million.”

This new mining fleet is currently being deployed at the Cascade mine, just down from Escarpment (Denniston).  The thing is, Bathurst’s mining all it can out of Cascade, because it needs as much money as it can to fund the new mine. 

Will none of that fleet be used to take the beautiful Denniston plateau apart?  Even if it isn’t, all of Bathurst’s mines are being used to finance the new one.  So it’s a bit silly to claim they’re not related.

It’s also a bit silly to claim, as they do, that their investments in Bathurst were made before the company had made any plans to mine Denniston.  Bathurst’s whole entry into New Zealand was always all about Denniston and the coking coal up on that plateau.  They’ve bought up all the mines they currently own in order to get this new mine (and the next five mines next to it) up and running.

Next quote from Bathurst’s report:

 “In addition, the Group has with Westpac New Zealand Limited a term loan $1.2m, finance lease facilities $0.3m, and bank overdraft facilities which were unused at 31 December 2013.”

There are no caveats here about where this money from Bathurst’s term loan with Westpac should be spent.  Again, this is about Bathurst having enough money to keep going and start digging up the Denniston Plateau.

Right now the company is in dire financial straits, not helped by the low price of coking coal.  But it’s abundantly clear to us that Westpac is helping this company keep afloat through both loans: the $3.5million loan for its mining fleet and the $1.2million loan and the finance lease facilities.

While Bathurst has said this all-time low price of coal means they won’t start digging any up yet, (while laying off 29 workers), once it gets all the permits approved, it plans to start readying the Denniston Plateau for mining.

We have yet to find out whether this includes removing all the “overburden” [read: beauty, biodiversity], but, with Forest & Bird, have called on them not to do this and for the Minister of Conservation to hold back his permission.

We also note that the Buller District Council is getting very excited about the planning permissions being signed off. It looks like Bathurst may be clear of all the red tape pretty soon.

So it’s still a great time –  if you’re a Westpac customer who wants to do something about Bathurst’s plans to dig up a beautiful part of New Zealand for coal that will ultimately end up in the sky and contribute to climate change – to

Sign up to Make the switch!

It’s not too late to switch away from Westpac in time for our Week of Action beginning 7th April around the country.  So get switching people!

Final note: Westpac is also one of the banks propping up Solid Energy, who, along with Bathurst Resources, are both pretty shaky companies. You’d think they might learn that coal is a bad investment on so many levels.  Maybe they should follow the path of Bill Koch (younger brother to the infamous Koch Industries brothers), who is getting out of the coal mining industry because, in his words, it “has kind of died.”