Monthly Archives: September 2015

No alternative to coal, Fonterra? Really??

by Jeanette Fitzsimons

Fonterra’s coal use is under scrutiny in South Island media after Robert Spurway, Global Operations Manager, replied on Tuesday to my column in the Christchurch Press.

Waimate locals and Coal Action Network activists make their statement in front of Fonterra's Studholme plant

Waimate locals and Coal Action Network activists make their statement in front of Fonterra’s Studholme plant

We are calling for Fonterra to use wood waste instead of coal in all its new boilers at its milk factories.

Mr Spurway says coal is the “only viable source” of heat to dry milk in the south Island, and begins his arguments by setting up a typical straw man.

CANA is not saying that “a switch to entirely wood fired burners would be simple”. Of course it will take some years, and that is why Fonterra should have started yesterday. At the very least, it is essential to start now, with any new burners being designed for renewable fuels. Then the oldest burners, which date from the 1970s and are probably the least efficient, can gradually be refurbished or replaced by purpose-built wood burners. Continue reading

Key told not to attend Paris and to pull NZ delegation

Joint Press release with CANA, Greenpeace,

Auckland 25 September 2015 – A coalition of environmental organisations (1), is calling for John Key not to attend the upcoming Paris climate summit, and to pull Tim Groser and the entire New Zealand delegation from the two weeks of talks.

“New Zealand is proving one of the biggest blocks to a meaningful global deal in December. In the interests of a successful outcome and for the good of the climate, we’re asking that our delegation not go,” said Greenpeace climate campaigner Steve Abel.

As well as having one of the weakest climate action plans and one of the poorest emission reduction records of the developed nations who’ll be in Paris, the New Zealand delegation also wants countries’ emission targets to be non-binding under any agreement, meaning governments could walk away from their targets at any time.

“The world’s ability to manage climate change rests on these targets; they must legally oblige  governments to reduce emissions. To call for them to be non-binding is to admit defeat from the outset,” said Niamh O’Flynn from 350 Aotearoa.

“Tim Groser and our delegation’s remit will be to prevent a Paris agreement that commits New Zealand to more climate action,” said Cindy Baxter of Coal Action Network Aotearoa. “They’ll be doing everything they can to bring everyone down to New Zealand’s level, in which case the world will be heading for at least 3-4 degrees of warming.” Continue reading

Our letter to John Key: pull our delegation from the Paris meeting – and don’t go yourself

Our Letter to Prime Minister, the Hon John Key

Dear Prime Minister,

Climate change is the challenge of our time; its scale and reach making it unlike anything humanity has faced in the past or is likely to face in future.

Climate Minister Tim Groser - better for the climate to just stay home from Paris.

Climate Minister Tim Groser – better for the climate to just stay home from Paris. (Flickr)

As such, Governments will gather in Paris in December in an attempt to reach a global deal limiting warming to 2 degrees and setting countries up for zero-carbon economies by 2050.   

Paris can be a watershed moment; the choices made there could determine whether our planet is a viable one on which we can all live. Already, we have Tuvalu’s Prime Minister seeking to move his entire population to another country.

Any agreement to come out of Paris must be legally binding; it must commit, by law, all countries to cut their emissions, and it must prevent governments backsliding in the face of political or economic change.

The New Zealand delegation to Paris, led by Minister Groser, is pushing for countries’ emission reduction targets to be non-binding, meaning governments could walk away from them at any time. This approach would fail to deliver the emission cuts needed to safely manage climate change, the results of which would be catastrophic. The European Union and others have already rejected non-binding targets for this reason.

In light of this, and with respect, we request that you withdraw New Zealand’s delegation from the talks, and decline to attend yourself. Continue reading

Tell Banks To Do The Paris Pledge To Quit Coal


BankTrack, the international NGO tracking the investments of private sector banks and their effect on people and the planet, has recently launched a major new campaign calling on banks to sign a pledge to quit coal, in time for the Paris climate conference in November. Coal Action Network Aotearoa has signed on to support this growing movement to tell banks to take this pledge and quit financing coal – and you can too.

The campaign is called “Banks: Do The Paris Pledge” and is part of BankTrack’s long-running campaign to build pressure on banks to exit the coal industry, based on its severe impacts on climate and health. Banks are invited to pledge to produce a phase-out plan for ending their financing for the coal industry (both mining and burning).

Please check out the website at and consider signing up as a supporter, and encouraging your friends and networks to do likewise. There are options both both individuals and organisations to sign on.

Fonterra finally admits its coal mine is “on hold”

By Jeanette Fitzsimons

Fonterra has just confirmed, in a letter to local residents, that its proposed mine at Mangatangi, in the Waikato, is “on hold” – confirming CANA’s claim earlier this year.

Auckland Coal Action protest at Fonterra's proposed Mangatangi mine.

Auckland Coal Action protest at Fonterra’s proposed Mangatangi mine.

We can’t help but smile,  because the day after we wrote a blog in February, saying the mine was “on hold indefinitely” a furious Fonterra claimed in the NBR that the mine was not on hold, but simply “delayed.”

The difference was never made clear to us and we remained puzzled at Fonterra’s overreaction to what appeared to be a nicety of the English language.

Last week, six months later, this is what Fonterra, through its Glencoal subsidiary, said in a letter to local residents:

“It has recently been decided to put the development of Mangatangi mine on hold, given the economic position of Fonterra and the dairy industry generally.”

Continue reading