Christchurch is rebuilding two hospitals – the central one and one at Burwood. One is installing state-of-the-art waste wood boilers, the other plans, bizarrely, to move two existing coal boilers on to the site, costing millions of dollars just to shift in some dirty energy.
Climate and health conscious people around the country and particularly in Canterbury have been vocal about the insanity of this and now there is a glimmer of hope. The tender documents were withdrawn last year and have been reissued. The wording is such that it could be possible to avoid coal.
Jeanette Fitzsimons gives the background and explores the arguments in The Press last week: http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/77738911/why-a-hospital-should-not-be-burning-coal
Last week was a bad week for coal mines on the West Coast.
Work on the Denniston Plateau has now stopped.
Early in the week Solid Energy announced 24 workers would lose their jobs from the Stockton mine, and by the end of the week Bathurst announced that it is putting the Denniston mine on hold, laying off 12 workers.
Terrible news for those workers and their families.
At the heart of this is the same issue that sent Solid Energy under: plummeting coking coal prices – a price that has continued to fall, and was again cited as the reason for Solid’s new layoffs.
Over on the Denniston Plateau, Bathurst’s woes have stemmed, in the first instance, from the long-signalled closure of the Holcim plant in Westport, its biggest client. Bathurst has had to seek domestic buyers for its high grade coking coal, because of the low international price.
Climate change is a public health emergency – the biggest health threat of the 21st century, but also the biggest opportunity to improve health. Dr Briary Crawford Zachernuk recently told Kew Hospital doctors in Invercargill what that public health emergency will mean for the medical profession, and what they can do in response, and you can listen to her excellent talk in four parts here:
Briary is a member of OraTaiao, the NZ Climate and Health Council, and you can find out much more about their vital work on their website.
Briary also provided doctors with these links explaining how we know climate change exists, and is caused by humans: