Monthly Archives: November 2010

Why We Must Phase out Coal Emissions

My grandchildren began to influence me when I realized that policy makers were ignoring the message from the climate science, or rather that politicians were developing the fine art of greenwash — they would say favorable words about the environment and stabilizing climate, but their actions were inconsistent with that goal.

In reality, our governments are continuing to build new coal-fired power plants, develop unconventional fossil fuels, and encourage the search for more oil.

Despite the rhetoric about a planet in peril, the reality is that fossil fuel companies are still calling the tune. We, the taxpayers, are still subsidizing fossil fuels. And fossil fuel companies are not made to pay for the damage that they do to human health or the planet’s health.

Read On….

Climate carbon negotiations: a black hole, and a new idea by Claire Browning

It turns out that Copenhagen was, in fact, more of a failure than we knew: it was not the destination some hoped, not even another milestone, but a rock in the road so large that we may need to take another route.

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James Hansen to visit New Zealand

James Hansen, author of “Storms of my Grandchildren”, is coming to New Zealand in May next year (11th – 21st).

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A just transition from coal to renewable energy in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia


The Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia is one of the world’s climate change hot-spots. It is where 40% of Australia’s electricity is generated from five coal-fired power plants, and is the source of 100 million tonnes of black coal exported annually to the global markets. A growing number of local residents of the Hunter Valley are questioning the sustainability of the region’s coal dependent economy because of its harmful local ecological and social impacts and its contribution to global warming. Environmental organisations and some labour unions have identified the need for a ‘just transition’ to clean, renewable energy-based economies at local, national and global scales to respond to these threats. A just transition is a process of economic restructuring from unsustainable economies towards ecological and social sustainability while creating new Green Jobs and supporting people and communities who might be disadvantaged during the change process. This article considers the potential for a just transition in the Hunter Valley with respect to coal mining, the export coal industry and domestic power generation. Attention is given to potential for common ground among key labour unions, environmentalists and local residents, and to the critical role of government intervention for a successful just transition process.

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Keep the Coal in the Hole – Jeanette Fitzsimons speech


The Earth is one of those things that are bigger than politics and if we are to protect it we need to rise above the petty scrapping that often passes for political debate.

I look forward to a future Earth Day when we can celebrate New Zealand’s leading role in seriously reducing emissions from dirty fuels like coal. I look forward to a day when kiwi and wetlands are valued more than the export dollars underneath them, and when we can flick on a light and know that energy came from renewable and non-polluting sources.

Read on…