Monthly Archives: March 2011

Latest news from the Coal Action Network: 23 March 2011

Note: As the acronym “CAN” is the same as that of a couple of other activist groups, we are changing our acronym to “CANA” – Coal Action Network Aotearoa – which was already the title of this blog.

Now for some news:

James Hansen Visit in May

The campaign against lignite mining in Southland will get a major boost with the visit of leading climate scientist Dr James Hansen. He is visiting Aotearoa from 11-21 May and will be involved in a range of events throughout the country.

The title of the majority of his talks will be “Human-Made Climate Change: A Scientific, Moral and Legal Issue”, and he will focusing in particular on the crucial need to stop the expansion of coal-mining if we want to retain a liveable climate.

There will be lots more to come on the Hansen visit, including meeting dates and times, and planned media appearances. We will bring you this information as it becomes available, but for the story so far, check out this post:

Public meetings with Jeanette Fitzsimons: Invercargill and Dunedin

Jeanette Fitzsimons has now spoken to public meetings organised by CANA in Wellington and Auckland – at each one, there has been a good turnout, and a good reaction to her message that the best thing to do with Southland lignite is to leave it right where it is, safely in the ground. In April, Jeanette will speaking in Invercargill and Dunedin. Due to the Christchurch earthquake of 22 February, we have unfortunately had to postpone Jeanette’s Christchurch public meeting indefinitely.

Invercargill Public Meeting

Forest and Bird are hosting a CAN Aotearoa Public Meeting with Jeanette Fitzsimons
Tuesday 19 April, 7pm – 9pm
Holy Trinity Church Hall, 61 King St, Windsor, Invercargill
Contact: Jenny Campbell, jennycam [at] xtra [dot] co [dot] nz
Dunedin Public Meeting
Wednesday 20 April, 6:30pm
Archway 3 Lecture Theatre, corner Union Street East and Leith Walk, Dunedin

Please note the change from the previously advertised Dunedin venue – the meeting has been moved to a bigger venue!

Ron Sakolsky and Sheila Nopper meetings
Ron Sakolsky (anarchist, pirate radio broadcaster, critic, academic and anti-coal-mining activist visiting from Vancouver Island) and Sheila Nopper (poet/activist) held a series of meetings around the country in March, showing the film End:Civ and holding discussions on the role of direct action in campaigns for climate justice. We had an especially good turnout at their Dunedin meeting and got plenty of new names for our supporters’ list, plus a lot of thought-provoking discussion.
Stop Deep Sea Oil
Although we are focused on coal in general, and lignite in particular, we are keen to support other campaigns against the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. So we are very pleased to be supporting the Stop Deep Sea Oil campaign. Here’s the summary from the new Stop Deep Sea Oil website:

“The New Zealand Government is inviting foreign oil companies like Petrobras to drill for oil in some of New Zealand’s deepest coastal waters.

East Cape iwi Te Whanau a Apanui have called on the rest of New Zealand to join them in defending the spectacular East Cape from deep sea oil drilling.

In response to that call a peaceful flotilla of protest ships will sail from Auckland on Sunday 27 March to arrive in Opotiki on 2 April.

Come on board in defence of the coastlines and oceans we all treasure.

Save New Zealand from an oil disaster! Stop Deep Sea Oil.”

To find more information and help with the campaign:

And very important, leave your message to the flotilla at:

20 April: Day Of Action Against Extraction

As the previous items shows, the plans to mine 6 billion tonnes of Southland lignite are only part of the Government’s full-speed-ahead attitude to resource extraction.

20 April has been declared a global “Day Of Action Against Extraction”. What will be happening on this day locally is still to be determined – other than Jeanette’s Dunedin public meeting! – but you can read the call for action here:

Solid Energy Pilot Briquetting Plant – Resource Consent Notification Status

At the time of writing, there has still been no word on whether the Gore District Council and Environment Southland will notify the resource consent application for Solid Energy’s planned pilot briquetting plant – which represents the thin end of the lignite exploitation wedge – or whether this application will be non-notified.

If the application is notified, we’ll let you know what you can do to help oppose consent being granted.

What You Can Do

While we wait to see if the resource consent application is notified, there is still plenty you can do to aid the campaign:

* Contact your local MP to tell them you are opposed to any exploitation of Southland lignite. (Not just National MPs, either – Labour has not yet announced its policy on Southland lignite, and the Maori Party may play a key role in political decisions on the issue.)

* Write a letter to your local paper – you can use the resources on our blog,, to help with this.

* Get more names for our supporters’ list. This is CANA’s key goal for the first half of 2011 – we want to get as many supporters as possible, to maximise the effectiveness of our actions in the second half of 2011. Please send names of people who want to go on the supporters’ list to coalactionnetwork [at] gmail [dot] com with “New supporters” in the subject line.

Tim Jones
for the Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Coal Action Network in Solidarity with Iwi fight against Oil Exploration


East Cape Iwi Te Whanau a Apanui have put out a call to groups who want to stand in solidarity with them against oil exploration off their coast.

Coal Action Network has lent its name to the many voices who are calling for a call to end offshore oil drilling.

As fossil fuels become rarer companies are moving into more and more unconventional sources, and into riskier territory. The Deepwater Horizon, and Pike River disasters last year are both examples of high risk projects which have had a high environmental impact and high social impact. It is the same flawed logic and pursuit of profit at any cost that created these disasters which drives the fossil fuel industry. Southland lignite is another such disaster in waiting which if given the go-ahead will substantially contribute to our ever growing climate crisis.

Coal Action Network stands alongside Te Whanau a Apanui in their call against the expansion of the fossil fuel industry and ask that everyone supports their struggle to defend their coastline from international oil.

for more info check out the website

Top climate scientist Dr James Hansen to visit NZ in May

The title of the majority Dr Hansen’s public talks will be: “Human-Made Climate Change: A Scientific, Moral and Legal Issue”.

15 March 2011—One of the world’s top climate scientists, Dr James Hansen, will visit New Zealand in May for a speaking tour, his first time in the country.

Dr Hansen is probably best known for bringing the urgency of the climate change issue to the world’s attention when he gave evidence to the US congress in 1988.

He is Adjunct Professor at Colombia University’s Earth Institute and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

His book, “Storms of my Grandchildren” (2009), updates the climate science and tracks a path that could lead us to a stable climate.

Dr Hansen has been invited to New Zealand by group of environmental, social justice and business organisations, academics and committed individuals, as a contribution to the ongoing debate about climate change – and coal (1).

Spokesperson for the group Jeanette Fitzsimons said: “Dr Hansen is one of the best-known climate scientists in the world. We think New Zealanders will be inspired by his explanation of why action is so urgent, and how it can be done. His recipe for how to achieve a stable climate by phasing out coal will be particularly relevant, as some in New Zealand plan to embark on massive new developments using lignite coal.”

Dr Hansen has been an active researcher in planetary atmosphere and climate
science for nearly 40 years, with the last 30 years focused on climate research,
publishing more than 100 scholarly articles on the latter topic.

The title of the majority Dr Hansen’s public talks will be: “Human-Made Climate
Change: A Scientific, Moral and Legal Issue”.

(1) Groups and businesses involved:, 100% Plan, Organic Systems NZ,
Greenpeace, Oxfam – and a number of interested individuals
(2) He will be in the country 11-21 May. Dates and details of his public talks to be confirmed closer to the tour.

Solid Energy’s briquetting plant application

Solid Energy recently lodged their application for their pilot briquetting plant with the Gore District Council and Environment Southland.  You can read it at: Solid Energy Briquetting Demo Plant Application 22-2-2011

(Please note, this is a 10.5 MB file)

We are still waiting to see if this is publicly notified.  Locals on the ground have been doing great work to try and ensure that it is.

As The World Burns: Direct Action For Climate Justice – film / discussion night

As The World Burns: Direct Action For Climate Justice – film / discussion night

Fri 4 Mar  2011

Time 7:00pm – 9:00pm Location 128 Abel Smith St, Wellington

Film / discussion night with Ron Sakolsky, (anarchist, pirate radio broadcaster, critic, academic and anti-coal-mining activist visiting from Vancouver Island) and Sheila Nopper (poet/activist).

Premiere screening of Franklin Lopez’s new film END:CIV

All welcome.

Organised by Coal Action Network coalactionnetwork [at] gmail [dot] com