Monthly Archives: October 2015

Fonterra Determined To Double Down On Coal – Tell Them That’s Not On

Too big to fail, too timid to change, or too arrogant to listen? You can form your own view on why Fonterra is determined to bet all our futures on coal, but there is no doubt that this is exactly what they plan to do.

Fonterra has made it very plain to Coal Action Network Aotearoa that they have no concrete plans to reduce their coal use any time soon and that growing the company is their bottom line – they appear to think that the environment is just a “nice to have”.

the first loser

Fonterra’s coal use has increased 38% since 2008. They are already New Zealand’s second-biggest coal user, and their determination to expand coal use further will only make its position even worse. We believe Fonterra will eventually recognise the error of their ways: the question is, how much more damage to our climate will they have done in the meantime?

But for now we’re asking nicely. Until 6 November, you can sign on to our open letter to Fonterra calling on them to commit to using no new coal. This is the first stage in our campaign to stop Fonterra becoming New Zealand’s greatest climate criminal. It won’t be the last.

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Fonterra Uses More Coal Than Huntly Coal-Fired Power Station

Fonterra is now the second largest user of coal in New Zealand, using more coal than the Huntly coal-fired power station, according to our new research (see table below).

This highlights the company’s contribution to climate change and to New Zealand’s total emissions. And it’s why it’s time to Tell Fonterra: No New Coal.

Our coal use is bigger

Fonterra does not divulge its total coal burn, but this table, compiled by CANA from various mainly public sources, shows it is well over half a million tonnes a year and growing rapidly.

Even without the proposed huge new coal fired milk drier at Studholme, for which Fonterra  has just applied for consents, it uses more coal than the Huntly power station. With the new plant it would use more than 600,000 tonnes.

The Huntly coal-fired power station has the capacity to generate 480 MW of heat, compared with Fonterra’s combined generating capacity of 572.9 MW.

The largest coal user in New Zealand is the Glenbrook steel mill. The Huntly power station was second, but has now been overtaken by Fonterra.

“Fonterra’s use of coal, and its planned expansion, is simply unsustainable,” said CANA spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons. “The world is in transition away from coal as climate change starts to bite everywhere and the science tells us we must phase out fossil fuels by 2050. Fonterra is going rapidly in the other direction”.

These huge quantities of coal are used to generate heat to dry milk to milk powder, a low value commodity which is Fonterra’s main export.

The company has a number of alternatives. Wood-fired boilers are common in Europe, and New Zealand has large quantities of waste wood from forestry operations. There are wood fuel suppliers who collect and process this wood and deliver to boiler sites.

“Another smart strategy would be to invest in adding more value to less milk, with less coal burn and fewer cows generating more wealth for Fonterra, farmers and the country,” said Ms Fitzsimons.

As the world demands action on climate change and a shift to cleaner fuels, the risk to Fonterra’s brand in discerning markets like Europe will become a serious consideration.

While the world is working to move away from coal, the Government has done nothing to deter Fonterra’s use of the climate-changing fuel, testament to the fact that we have one of the weakest climate policies on the planet.

CANA is a volunteer group of citizens working to reduce the mining and burning of coal by opposing new and expanded mines and plans to burn more coal, while protecting the jobs that already exist.

 

Join Over 1600 People Who’ve Signed On To Tell Fonterra “No New Coal”

Fonterra is New Zealand’s second biggest coal user – and they are planning a further major expansion of their coal use. At a time when Antarctic ice sheets are under increasing threat from climate change, that’s criminally irresponsible.

But Fonterra have an alternative: they could use wood waste instead of coal in their new plants, and then progressively switch their existing coal plants to use wood waste. So far, they have refused to take up that alternative.

It’s Time To Tell Fonterra: No New Coal

dairy for life

Many people know that Fonterra, and the expansion of the New Zealand dairy industry, have led to massive environmental problems. These include the degradation of water quality and a big increase in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

But what’s less well known is that Fonterra burns coal to dry milk powder. Their use of coal has expanded 38% since 2008 and they are planning a further major expansion.

So, in partnership with Action Station, Coal Action Network Aotearoa has launched a campaign calling on Fonterra to commit to building no new coal boilers, and then to progressively phase out existing coal boilers.

We think this is an issue Fonterra is vulnerable on, and now is a good time to push for change. If you agree, please sign and share this call to action:

More coal jobs gone, still no transition plan from Government

Press Release

With the news of 68 coal jobs going today in Huntly East Coal Mine, Coal Action Network Aotearoa called for the Government to urgently put time and effort into a national discussion on a Just Transition for workers from the failing coal industry.

68 coal jobs up in smoke, and still no sign of a transition plan

68 coal jobs up in smoke, and still no sign of a transition plan

“Huntly East’s closing was inevitable after Genesis Energy’s announcement that it will close New Zealand’s last remaining coal-fired power station. Now that Solid Energy is in administration, we can only expect more of this,” said Cindy Baxter of Coal Action Network Aotearoa.

“But where is the Government’s transition plan for these workers – and others in the future who may lose their jobs due to Solid Energy’s demise?”

Genesis already has a stockpile of 700,000 tonnes of coal, and used the announcement of Solid Energy going into administration to break its contract with the company.

Globally, the coal industry is struggling, as China and India increasingly turn to renewable energy. Last week, the largest worker layoff in China’s history saw 100,000 coal industry workers lose their jobs.

A number of US coal producers have declared bankruptcy, others are teetering, and global giants such as BHP Billiton and Glencore are putting on brave faces as they head into a worsening commodities crash.

“The Government cannot just sit back and watch as communities bear the brunt of its mismanagement of Solid Energy – these workers deserve more than that,” said Baxter.

Coal Action Network Aotearoa brought the need for a transition plan for coal industry workers and coal mining communities to the fore in its Jobs After Coal report, first released last year and updated this year.

Speaking Tour: In The Eye Of The Storm: Disaster Politics And Climate Change In The Philippines

philippines_tour

This speaking tour of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland next week with Dr Efleda Bautista of People Surge is well worth your time and attention. Event details are:

Christchurch: 12 October, 7.30pm, Addington Haven, 19 Church Square, Addington. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/435734656613716/

Wellington: 14 October, 6.30pm, Hall No. 1, Wesley Church, 75 Taranaki St. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/747423325385522/

Auckland: 16 October, 6-8pm, Algie Lecture Theatre, University of Auckland Law School, 9 Eden Crescent Building 101. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/925340214206732/

Auckland: 17 October, 3-5pm, Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall, 13 May Road. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/529480887199063/

All the details plus an interview with Dr Bautista are available on the Auckland Philippines Solidarity site. Here is an extract:

In November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, crashed into the Philippines killing more than 6300 people and displacing millions.  In the aftermath of the devastating storm, the Philippine government failed to adequately distribute tens of millions of aid donated from overseas countries to typhoon survivors.  Big developers used the chaos as an opportunity to grab lands previously occupied by fisher folk and poor communities.

Typhoon survivors formed an alliance called ‘People Surge’ to protest government neglect and demand pro-people rehabilitation. People Surge highlighted calls for land rights for the poor as key in solving mass poverty and consequent people’s vulnerability to disasters and effects of climate change.

Here is the interview:

Tell Fonterra: No New Coal Boilers

one lump or two

There’s one thing we all know about coal: it causes climate change, and it’s the fuel we have to get rid of, globally, in order to keep warming below two degrees.

But there’s something you may not know: dairy giant Fonterra is New Zealand’s second biggest coal user, burning more than half a million tonnes a year to dry milk powder. Its coal use has increased 38% since 2008.

And Fonterra is planning a big increase in its use of coal. It plants to build more coal boilers to let it dry even more milk powder.

Whatever you think of Fonterra’s economic strategy, Fonterra’s coal expansion plans have to be stopped. And that’s where you come in.

Fonterra wants to be seen as clean and green. It doesn’t want to be branded as a climate criminal. If enough of us speak up now, we can turn Fonterra’s plans around.

Fonterra doesn’t have to use coal. It could use wood waste instead.

Graphic: Action Station

Graphic: Action Station

Fonterra has just applied for consent to build a huge new milk drying plant at Studholme in South Canterbury with four new coal boilers. But there are other ways of getting the heat it wants.

In forests around the region, mountains of waste wood – branches, broken logs, prunings – are burned on site or left to rot. There are companies who collect this and supply it as fuel to industry. It is being used already in greenhouses, hospitals, schools, and other industries around the country.

Fonterra – like the rest of the world – needs to phase out coal. But the decision point is when you design the boiler. To get the best performance, and to be able to use the cheapest fuel, the boiler needs to be purpose-designed for wood.

Some boilers built in the 1970s are still being used to dry milk. Designing these four new boilers at Studholme for coal will commit Fonterra to increased coal use for at least another 40 years!

That’s why we have written an open letter to Fonterra Chair John Wilson – and why we’re asking you to sign on. Here’s what we’re asking Fonterra to do:

We call on you to commit to “no new coal boilers” – that is, to use wood waste, not coal, in the new boilers you’re currently planning, like at Studholme.

Then, we want Fonterra to commit to, and fully carry out, a programme to phase out coal boilers and move to wood waste at its existing plants as they age.

Now is the time to make a difference. The Studholme project doesn’t yet have consent so there is time to change design. The Fonterra Board meets in November.