Would that Fonterra Would Use Wood!

Jeanette Fitzsimons writes…

Well, actually CANA doesn’t care whether Fonterra uses wood or not. If it finds a way to dry milk with moonbeams, that’s fine by us. What it mustn’t do is keep using coal, let alone expanding it, or expand its gas use.

We’ve been promoting waste wood from forestry because that is abundant, it’s renewable as long as forests are replanted, the technology to burn it is mature, it is found around the country, and we have the local expertise. So, ever helpful, we are getting alongside Fonterra and trying to find a good alternative for them. But the bottom line is, coal must go, and so must gas soon after.

Outside its Edendale dairy factory in Southland, Fonterra gets a clear message.

Outside its Edendale dairy factory in Southland, Fonterra gets a clear message.

Our campaign is having an effect – faster than we expected.

After hearing our evidence (well, our witness Peter Fraser’s evidence) at the Studholme consent hearing that prices are not going to rise enough to make new or expanded dairy farms profitable, and so there will be no milk for the proposed plant to dry, Fonterra has half accepted our argument and dropped one of their two proposed driers. That’s 270,000 new cows they were sure a few weeks ago they had to provide for, which they now agree are not going to materialise. So where is their evidence that the other 270,000 will?
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Urgent civil disobedience with 350: what does it feel like?

I found the direct action at the ANZ inspiring and necessary. Here is a snapshot of what a non-violent direct action can feel like.

At the briefing the previous night, we asked questions, especially about arrest, and ran through what we’d do during the action. Snacks, goodwill and optimism were abundant and this theme continued the next morning.

At about 8 am a wall of coal sacks blocked the doors. We linked arms and sang songs. Others handed out leaflets to explain the purpose of the civil disobedience or spoke to media, and buses tooted their support for our divestment message on a prominent banner, with our oil spattered climbers standing on the awning above. Police were present, but not threatening or intimidating towards the main group of protestors.

I ended up sitting next to another doctor. We discussed how emergencies require urgent responses. If you had a heart attack in front of me, I wouldn’t tell you to come back in 2 weeks if your heart attack didn’t feel better. Likewise, urgent direct action is necessary for the health emergency of climate change. It felt good to be doing the right thing.

ANZ  were keen to avoid media coverage. Some customers wanted to get in, but even an older couple who needed to get arrangements for travel sorted that morning told us they supported what we were doing, and were able to get what they needed after some discussion.

By 11 am the lights inside went off, a sign saying they’d closed up for the day was stuck on the door and the remaining staff trailed out through a side exit. Our roof climbers with the banner came down, and we sang waiata of support as they were issued with trespass notices, which was all done in a civilised and friendly manner.

The day was a success, no one was arrested or hurt, and we didn’t have to use the fortitude we had built up the previous night, nor the learned skills of dealing with forcible removal.

Business as usual cannot continue, and breakfree2016 actions around the world coordinated by 350 made that clear. There are risks involved, of arrest, of having force used against you, of upsetting people, and perhaps most worrying of all, of this not producing the changes we urgently need.

This event gave me courage to engage in similar actions again. Between courage and hope, we may have all we need to produce transformation.

“The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

Alice Walker

 

Fonterra scraps plans for one of two coal-fired boilers, but should drop both

Press release May 5 2016

That Fonterra has decided to scrap plans to build one of two coal-fired milk driers in South Canterbury is a good start, but the company could take a step further and cancel the entire project, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.

In response to strong opposition, including from CANA, Fonterra has told Environment Canterbury (1) that it no longer wants to build two coal-fired milk driers at its Studholme expansion outside Waimate in South Canterbury and has scaled plans back to just one.  It has promised that this one plant would be a hybrid that could burn up to 20 per cent biomass instead of just coal, but still hasn’t committed to burning that biomass.

Chch 1

Protest outside a Fonterra distribution plant in Christchurch

“Fonterra has taken us halfway to the right point,” said Coal Action Network’s Cindy Baxter.  “It has heard our opposition, but it hasn’t quite got the full message.  It should cancel the second plant as well.”

“From our calculations, even one new boiler would require around 270,000 more cows (2) in the area to feed the plant, equivalent to plonking a city bigger than Los Angeles into the area, without a sewerage system. This is smaller than our original estimate of a Jakarta-sized footprint, but is still way more than the local environment can cope with.”

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A Trip Down The Rabbit Hole: Rosemary Penwarden Reports From The Fonterra Studholme Expansion Resource Consent Hearing

Rosemary Penwarden spent a day in the fantasy world of “Business as Usual” opposing Fonterra’s ten-fold expansion of its South Canterbury Studholme milk drying plant. Find out what it feels like to take a trip down the rabbit hole:

http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/380579/fonterra-has-no-future-do-we

 

It’s Time To Break Free From Fossil Fuels

From May 4-16, 2016, a global wave of mass actions will target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects — to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy.

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In Aotearoa, there will be actions in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. All of the actions will adhere to a strictly non-violent kaupapa and will be accessible for all with different levels of involvement available.

When it comes to the future of our planet, it’s fossil fuels or us. So we encourage everyone who can to get involved in these actions. You can sign up for actions here: https://nz.breakfree2016.org/ and you can also join each action on Facebook:

Auckland: https://www.facebook.com/events/1133726439991775/
Wellington: https://www.facebook.com/events/159524387777137/
Christchurch: https://www.facebook.com/events/1702837439985045/
Dunedin: https://www.facebook.com/events/1066761856715041/

Fonterra’s coal-fired climate folly

by Jeanette Fitzsimons

Why would Fonterra spend several million dollars on a process lasting nearly a year, seeking planning consent for a huge new milk drier that it knows will never be built?Perhaps that’s not a lot of money to them – after all, one million is only three months’ salary for their CEO.

Fonterra’s proposed Studholme project, just outside of Waimate in South Canterbury, would see two new spray driers powered by two immense coal boilers – one 65MW, the other 50.

 

one lump or twoThis is the biggest new coal burning project in the country, with the hearing happening just as our Minister for Climate Change is about to travel to New York to sign the Paris agreement where we undertook to reduce our greenhouse emissions a totally inadequate 11% below 1990 levels. (It’s even more inadequate when creative accounting turns this into more like +10%).

Fonterra is already the second biggest coal burner in the country and grew its coal use by 38% between 2008-2013. They pay lip service to climate change but in practice are totally wedded to coal.

This new plant, if it is built and runs at capacity, would produce some 100,000 tonnes a year of greenhouse gas emissions (similar to its Darfield plant), plus the much more global warming potential of the methane and nitrous oxide from nearly half a million new cows that would be required to supply the milk. Continue reading

From Edendale to Auckland, They Came With One Message: Fonterra, Quit Coal

We think this is the first-ever political protest in the small Southland town of Edendale

An unambiguous message outside the massive Fonterra plant in the small Southland town of Edendale. Great work by Coal Action Murihiku.

On Monday 4 April, as Fonterra launched its bid for resource consent for a massive coal-fired expansion of its Studholme plant in South Canterbury, which if consented and built further worsening greenhouse gas emissions at a critical time for the climate, ordinary New Zealanders up and down the nation took action in their local community. There were many voices, but one message: Fonterra, quit coal.

Fonterra responded with greenwash, claiming that they were on our side, and that their new Studholme boilers would, if built, use 20% biomass. But in fact their resource consent application documents say the boilers would use up to 20% biomass, and admit that “up to 20%” is mostly likely to mean “0%”.

It’s time to stop the spin, Fonterra. Actions speak a whole lot louder than words. You must take real, measurable, progressive steps to get off coal and onto renewable sources of energy.

Outside a Fonterra distribution plant in Christchurch

Outside a Fonterra distribution plant in Christchurch

Outside Fonterra's Brightwater factory near Nelson

Outside Fonterra’s Brightwater factory near Nelson

Auckland Coal Action sends the message loud and clear

Auckland Coal Action sends the message loud and clear

 

Outside Fonterra's flash HQ

Outside Fonterra’s flash HQ

Poster placed in an Auckland window

Poster placed in an Auckland window