Monthly Archives: November 2013

Norwegian Pension Fund Divests From Bathurst Resources

CANA press release from 13 November

Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s Tim Jones says the campaign to save the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau is not over, even though Forest and Bird have decided not to appeal an Environment Court ruling signing off on a planned coal mine on the plateau.

“The world is turning its back on coal. And shareholders are getting out of Bathurst Resources” Mr Jones said. “The Norwegian Pension Fund, Norges, which holds just over $2 million in Bathurst shares, is divesting from coal. And our campaign with 350 Aotearoa, asking the Westpac Bank to stop backing Bathurst Resources, is growing fast. It’s time for Westpac to follow the Norwegians.”

“Well over 1000 people have written letters to Westpac asking the bank to stop financing the destruction of the Denniston Plateau. New Zealanders understand the importance of this stand for our country and for the climate. The coal is still in the hole, the world is changing fast and our campaign is only growing – unlike Bathurst Resources’ long-suffering shareholders.”

“To stay below the agreed two degree limit of global warming and minimise the risk of runaway climate change, climate scientists have warned that most of the industry’s coal reserves have to remain in the ground as unburnable carbon. They will be stranded assets on coal companies’ books, worth nothing.”

“Investors see the writing on the wall – Bathurst shares are not bankable in a climate change future”

Coal Action Network Aotearoa iscampaigning for a sensible phasing out of coal, with no new coal mines and appropriate support for mining communities to develop alternative livelihoods.

“Our aim, of no new coal, is in line with the rest of the world. Hamish Bohannan and Bathurst Resources are trying to profit from an old technology that we know is perilous to future generations. Alternatives to coking coal are being developed now. Coking coal is not essential to a prosperous future as the industry will have us believe” Mr Jones said. “In fact digging up more coal and adding to climate change puts a prosperous future at risk. The world does not need Denniston coal. It should stay right where it is, propping up one of New Zealanders’ most treasured wild places.”

Tim Jones
Spokesperson
Coal Action Network Aotearoa
027 359 0293

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Time is running out for the Denniston Plateau – Join the Westpac Week of Action

DumpDennistonLogoCoal

Over the past few weeks over 1100 of us have sent a letter to Westpac asking them to stop funding climate change and coal mining on the Denniston Plateau. We’ve also visited their offices and branches in Auckland and Wellington to ask them to live up to their promises on sustainability.

With time running out for the beautiful and unique Denniston Plateau, it’s time to really put the pressure on Westpac to start walking the talk on climate change.

That’s why Coal Action Network Aotearoa and 350 Aotearoa are kicking off December with:

Westpac Week of Action
2nd-8th December
In a town or city near you!

From setting up “climate crime scenes” outside your local Westpac branch, to attention grabbing photos and stunts, we need you to get creative in towns across New Zealand.

How can you get involved?

There are already 8 regions planning activities. So if you’re in Auckland, Warkworth, Wellington, Nelson, Motueka, Takaka, Christchurch, or Southland, get in touch with your local organiser and join or help organise an event! The more people involved, the louder the message.

Not a group in your area already planning an event? If you are keen to help organise a Week of Action activity email us at coalactionnetwork@gmail.com. It can be as simple as a photo outside your Westpac branch or creating a climate crime scene, or you can come up with your own ideas.

Help make the Week of Action even bigger by inviting your friends to the Facebook event and forwarding this email.

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to send a letter to Westpac CEO, Peter Clare: westpacdumpcoal.org.nz

Westpac says “we’ve put sustainability at the heart of our culture” and “our commitment to the environment covers our own operations as well as the impact of their products and services”.

Yet Westpac is financing Bathurst Resources’ plans to create one of New Zealand’s largest new contributors to climate change, and destroy the Denniston Plateau.

Let’s let them know that they need live up to their claims and stop funding climate destruction or risk losing their reputation and their customers.

What’ll I tell the grandkids, thirty years from now?

grandma3

I wish I could tell them that yes, it came close, but we did save the Denniston Plateau. I wish I could say to my grandkids that, looking back, by 2013 the tide was turning. Maybe it was the movement to divest from fossil fuels that clinched it, as Bill McKibben’s 350 campaign began to grow that year from a little ripple to a wave, linking with the climate movements sprouting like so many connected gas wells across the landscape, across the world, rolling together into a tsunami that even reached New Zealand’s West Coast – at about the same time as the beautiful Denniston Plateau was abandoned to its fate by the highest court in our land.

Maybe the tanking of the coal price helped clinch it, as Solid Energy’s 2013 financial report revealed the full extent of the brutal Hand of the Market on the lives of workers. And maybe, the unfortunate consequence of egotistical power fuelled by an ideologically blinded government, some people just got too greedy.

Or maybe we finally got mad enough.

There was a feeling, I’d tell my grandkids if I could, that we were on the edge of a turning, a wind change, of one of those moments where history is made. It was the end of coal, coming to pass in the nick of time to save the planet. Continue reading

Westpac: All greenwash, or will they walk the talk and dump coal?

DumpDennistonLogoCoal

Westpac recently emailed a response to some of the many people who have been calling on them to remove their financial support from Bathurst Resources Ltd. They delegated the South Island Regional Manager, Gina Dellabarca, to make this response.

Unfortunately, the response calls further into question the truth behind Westpac’s own policies and commitments. In fact, our concerns around Westpac funding Bathurst Resources’ planned Denniston open cast mine, which, along with their other mines planned for the area, would release at least 218 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, have not been addressed at all.

Here is the response:

As Regional Manager, South Island, I have been asked to reply to your letter dated 15 October 2013 to our CEO regarding Bathurst Resources.

Thank you for contacting us with your concerns. I want to confirm as an organisation, we are committed to a lower carbon economy. As a society, this will take some time and Westpac takes its responsibility as a large corporate seriously, balancing the needs of the community in terms of economic growth, jobs, incomes and sustainable prosperity.

Westpac recognises that the transformation of the energy sector over the coming years will present a range of challenges. To achieve that, we believe a balanced approach is required and we will continue to work with all of our customers to help make this transition happen.

Regards,
Gina Dellabarca

Gina says Westpac is committed to a lower carbon economy, and that they take their responsibility as a large corporate seriously. They also claim on their website that “we’ve put sustainability at the heart of our culture” …“our commitment to the environment covers our own operations as well as the impact of their products and services”.

That sounds good. But having a commitment implies that your actions align with it. Gina’s answer doesn’t address how Westpac financing a new open cast coal mine, the biggest new threat to climate change in New Zealand, can possibly be consistent with this commitment. Continue reading