Don’t Take Our Word For How Bad Mokau South Is – Take Waikato Regional Council’s Word. And Submit By Next Tuesday.

Submissions on Mokau South’ Resources’ proposal to strip-mine the Panirau Plateau in the Mokau River Catchment for coal close next Tuesday, 2 February. We have had a good response to our call for submissions against the project, but we’d love to see even more.

  • Already know you want to help? Find out how in our Mokau South submission guide (Word | PDF)

Some people have said they don’t have time to make a long submission – and that’s fair enough, as we know how busy people are! Your submission doesn’t have to be long, but we think its is important to meet the formal requirements laid out in the submission guide. And here’s why.

Climate Change, the RMA, and Grounds for Submissions

The applicant, Mokau South Resources, was unhappy at the idea that their resource consent application might be publicly notified. They asked why this was being done, and Waikato Regional Council’s scanned response is very revealing of both the scale of the project and the applicants’ attitude:

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So there we have it: the project is massive, in an environmentally sensitive area, in a river catchment with high annual rainfall, and the applicants want to avoid a fight on climate change grounds!

Unfortunately, on this last point, the Resource Management Act as it is currently worded is with the applicant: it explicitly excludes consideration of the effects of a project on climate change. A movement is underway to put climate change back in the RMA, but in the meantime, a submission that only mentions climate change can be “struck out for disclosing no relevant case”. That’s appalling, but it’s the law.

(However, some arguments related to climate change can still be made – our submission guide explains how to do that.)

So that’s why we encourage submitters to put in a submission that can’t be struck out, because it refers to the many, many other environmental and economic grounds on which the project is a bad idea. Our submission guide (Word | PDF) provides you with plenty of talking points. Pick one or pick just a few, and make your submission as brief as you like: but please do submit. And once you’ve included grounds that ensure your submission can’t be struck out, we encourage you to state clearly which this project is a terrible idea on climate change grounds.

Mordor on the Mokau

Finally, this Radio New Zealand story provides more information about the applicants and their proposal. It makes them sound like a couple of dear old duffers pursuing their lifelong dream. It’s just a pity that their lifelong dream involves ruining an important natural environment and trashing the world’s climate.

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The Coal Industry Wants To Strip Mine The Mokau. Help Us Stop Them.

  • Already know you want to help? Find out how in our Mokau South submission guide (Word | PDF)

As NASA has confirmed, 2015 was the hottest year on record. So the idea of starting any new coal mine represents a dangerous disconnection with reality. But sometimes, we come across a proposal that has that whole extra level of insanity.

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Many years ago, before the Resource Management Act came into force, Mokau South Resources was granted a mining licence for an area of regenerating native bush on the Panirau Plateau near the Panirau Stream, a tributary of the Mokau River on the North Taranaki Coast. Their current permit expires in 2016.

So now, despite the state of the coal market and the imperative need not to increase greenhouse gas emissions, Mokau South Resources has applied to Waikato Regional Council for resource consent to strip mine a large area near the Panirau Stream. That’s a terrible idea on climate change grounds. It’s also a terrible idea for the natural environment in North Taranaki and the Waikato.

Coal companies around the world are crashing. China’s coal use has declined and the Chinese Government has banned new coal mines. And the Paris Agreement has signalled the end of the fossil fuel era. But here in New Zealand, while the Government tips them a nod and a wink, the coal industry keeps trying to dig up more of the stuff. They must be stopped.

How To Submit

Submissions on this project close on Tuesday 2 February – so you don’t have long. Working with Waikato Climate Action, we’ve prepared a submission guide (Word | PDF) with many different reasons for objecting to this proposal, and we’d like as many people as possible to submit. You’ll find all the details of how to submit in the guide. You can also read the official Waikato Regional Council information on this application.

Let’s send Waikato Regional Council and the coal industry an unambiguous message: no more new coal mines, no more increases in greenhouse gas emissions, and no more destruction of our natural habitat for the sake of private profit.

  • Get started on your Mokau South submission now with our downloadable submission guide (Word | PDF)

 

A win-win strategy for Fonterra

from Jeanette Fitzsimons

With the world committing at Paris to strive to keep global warming down to 1.5 degrees, the pressure is on Fonterra to stop increasing its coal use and start a gradual phase out. It cannot afford the reputational damage that will result from building its huge new drying plant at Studholme, increasing its coal use to some 600,000 tonne a year.

There is another way that could be more profitable for the company and especially for its farmers, while lightening its environmental footprint. The key is to substitute “value” for “volume”.

On 30 November NZ Farmers’ Weekly ran a big article where they lauded their achievements in energy efficiency, and complained that to get off coal was too big a challenge. We disagree.

See my response in last week’s issue: https://farmersweekly.co.nz/article/energy-challenges?p=24

Stand With Sarah For The Climate: Help Fund Her Legal Action Against The NZ Government

Sarah Thomson is taking the Government to court over its climate change target

Sarah Thomson is taking the Government to court over its climate change target

The good news: it appears that, in 2015, carbon dioxide emissions will actually drop – mainly thanks to China’s falling coal consumption.

The bad news: New Zealand’s emissions continue to rise steeply. The New Zealand’s Government pathetic lack of action on climate change, and its equally pathetic contributions to international climate negotiations, keeps earning New Zealand Fossil of the Day awards at the Paris climate talks.

New Zealanders aren’t taking this lying down, as the great turnout for November’s climate marches in 35 centres around the country showed. While groups like CANA campaign against New Zealand’s worst sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as Fonterra, law student Sarah Thomson is taking a different approach.

Sarah is launching a judicial review of the New Zealand Government’s completely inadequate emissions reduction targets – and you can help her fund that legal action. A similar action in Holland was successful recently – please donate to ensure the Government can be held to account.

 

 

 

This Saturday, It’s Time To March For The Climate

The People’s Climate March is this weekend. Most events are on Saturday 28 November, though there are a few on the 29th. You can check the details of local events (note that there are 4 pages of events – you can move between them at the bottom right of the page).

Why march? Because the Paris climate talks are starting soon, and the New Zealand Government has not only set a ridiculously weak target for emissions reductions, but has a track record of working hard behind the scenes with countries such as Australia, Canada, Russia and Saudi Arabia to prevent or weaken international action on climate change.

So let’s get as many people as possible involved all around the country. Let’s send our Government a message even they can’t ignore: we need real action on climate change, and we need it to start now.

PS: There’s still time to make your submission against Fonterra’s coal expansion plans – and check out this cool Fonterra AGM action by Auckland Coal Action.

One Woman Stood Up To Fonterra. Now You Can Follow Her Example.

Selva J. Calvi stands up to Fonterra in Whangarei

Selva J. Calvo stands up to Fonterra in Whangarei

This is Selva. Along with nearly 3000 other New Zealanders, she is concerned that while the coal industry is in retreat around the world, here in New Zealand Fonterra is rapidly expanding its use of coal and propping up some of the nation’s most destructive coal companies, like Bathurst Resources, by doing so.

So Selva did something. She went to the venue of a Fonterra shareholders’ meeting and made a public stand against Fonterra’s coal-fired expansion plans – plans that, if carried out, will make climate change worse and more destructive.

We salute Selva and others who took a stand against Fonterra at their nationwide series of shareholders’ meetings last week. But you can take a stand against Fonterra too – and you don’t have to get out in public to do so.

All you have to do is tell Environment Canterbury you don’t want Fonterra to build two dirty new coal boilers at its Studholme plant in South Canterbury, when they could be installing wood-fired boilers instead, using waste wood from forestry operations.

You can make a quick submission using this form. Make sure you say you are opposed to all 8 resource consent applications – they are all part of the same plan.

And if you need more information, check out our Quick Submission Guide (Word |PDF), where you’ll find plenty of great arguments to use.

PS: Submissions close on Friday 27 November at 5pm – don’t wait till it’s too late!

 

 

Join The People’s Climate March

What are you planning to do on Saturday November 28th? Got any plans?

You could be part of the global People’s Climate March. In over 160 cities around the world (London, Hong Kong, New York, Sydney to name a few), people will be marching to demand that their governments work to find solutions to the challenges posed by climate change. People, organisations and companies are working to find solutions – now we want our governments to take action to reduce carbon emissions. As world leaders gather in Paris for the climate summit we’re sending a clear message that we need more action.

This is your chance to be part of a global phenomenon and the largest climate march in New Zealand history, and in the world.

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Events will take place in Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin, Nelson, Wairarapa, Napier/Hastings, Invercargill, Rotorua, Marlborough, Ashburton, Whanganui. You can find full details at peoplesclimatemarch.org.nz. All marches will be family-friendly opportunities for anybody who cares about our planet to march with like-minded folks.

Coal Action Network has been busy working with organisations, including Caritas, the World Wildlife Fund, First Union, 350 Aotearoa, Action Station, Greenpeace, Unite, Generation Zero, the PSA, the Maritime Workers Union, the P3 Foundation, Forest and Bird, the World Wildlife Fund and Oxfam New Zealand to make this happen; Harvey is part of the Wellington organising group and Jeanette is representing CANA on the Auckland committee.

There are many more groups than the ones listed who will take part.

We’re looking for individuals who care to come and take part. If you are in Auckland, look for the black and orange CANA banner and march with us.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer said recently, “Never think that democracy doesn’t work. It does. But the citizens have to made a lot of noise!

Please come. Bring home made signs and banners and your whole family. Make your voice heard.

As Naomi Klein said in This Changes Everything, “to Change Everything, we Need Everyone”.