Monthly Archives: May 2016

Chch council should drop climate deniers from expert review panel

PRESS RELEASE

The Christchurch City Council should drop the two climate deniers it recently appointed to a new panel to re-review a coastal hazards report,  Coal Action Network Aotearoa said today.

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Christchurch City Council illustration of sea level rise

As part of its district plan, the council commissioned the engineering firm Tonkin Taylor to estimate the impacts of a sea level rise of around 40cm over the next 50 years, and one metre in 100 years.

After loud local protest from potentially affected residents,  the council has appointed a new panel to conduct a second peer review of the report.  But that panel now has two well-known climate science deniers on it:  Kesten Green and Willem de Lange, whose history of climate denial has been set out on the Hot Topic blog.   Continue reading

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Reflections on my experience at the Fonterra Studholme resource consent hearing

by Jenny Campbell

Fonterra clinging

What does it mean to be part of a positive, hopeful and world -changing group of motivated people?

My experience of being part of the Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) team and their oral submission presentations at Studholme, near Waimate, was humbling, invigorating, and life changing.

The build-up and hours of submission writing, strategizing as to who from CANA was covering what aspect and counting the number of people from the local community as well as others from further afield who had committed to being there, all added to the anticipation.

Teleconference calls kept the focus on the strategy of presenting factual information to combat the Fonterra’s evidence. Much rejoicing occurred when we heard two experts, economist Peter Fraser and wood boiler engineer Christian Jirkowsky, had agreed to appear as expert witnesses on our behalf.

Fellow CANA member, Zella Downing and I set off after work from Invercargill, arriving in Waimate late at night, having covered a multitude of topics including what we were saying when it came to our oral presentations. We had already heard from CANA member, Rosemary Penwarden about her impressions from the days at the end of the previous week as to how the Commissioners were listening carefully to alternative views, not hurrying submitters, asking searching questions and appearing to be listening. Continue reading

Would that Fonterra Would Use Wood!

Jeanette Fitzsimons writes…

Well, actually CANA doesn’t care whether Fonterra uses wood or not. If it finds a way to dry milk with moonbeams, that’s fine by us. What it mustn’t do is keep using coal, let alone expanding it, or expand its gas use.

We’ve been promoting waste wood from forestry because that is abundant, it’s renewable as long as forests are replanted, the technology to burn it is mature, it is found around the country, and we have the local expertise. So, ever helpful, we are getting alongside Fonterra and trying to find a good alternative for them. But the bottom line is, coal must go, and so must gas soon after.

Outside its Edendale dairy factory in Southland, Fonterra gets a clear message.

Outside its Edendale dairy factory in Southland, Fonterra gets a clear message.

Our campaign is having an effect – faster than we expected.

After hearing our evidence (well, our witness Peter Fraser’s evidence) at the Studholme consent hearing that prices are not going to rise enough to make new or expanded dairy farms profitable, and so there will be no milk for the proposed plant to dry, Fonterra has half accepted our argument and dropped one of their two proposed driers. That’s 270,000 new cows they were sure a few weeks ago they had to provide for, which they now agree are not going to materialise. So where is their evidence that the other 270,000 will?
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Urgent civil disobedience with 350: what does it feel like?

I found the direct action at the ANZ inspiring and necessary. Here is a snapshot of what a non-violent direct action can feel like.

At the briefing the previous night, we asked questions, especially about arrest, and ran through what we’d do during the action. Snacks, goodwill and optimism were abundant and this theme continued the next morning.

At about 8 am a wall of coal sacks blocked the doors. We linked arms and sang songs. Others handed out leaflets to explain the purpose of the civil disobedience or spoke to media, and buses tooted their support for our divestment message on a prominent banner, with our oil spattered climbers standing on the awning above. Police were present, but not threatening or intimidating towards the main group of protestors.

I ended up sitting next to another doctor. We discussed how emergencies require urgent responses. If you had a heart attack in front of me, I wouldn’t tell you to come back in 2 weeks if your heart attack didn’t feel better. Likewise, urgent direct action is necessary for the health emergency of climate change. It felt good to be doing the right thing.

ANZ  were keen to avoid media coverage. Some customers wanted to get in, but even an older couple who needed to get arrangements for travel sorted that morning told us they supported what we were doing, and were able to get what they needed after some discussion.

By 11 am the lights inside went off, a sign saying they’d closed up for the day was stuck on the door and the remaining staff trailed out through a side exit. Our roof climbers with the banner came down, and we sang waiata of support as they were issued with trespass notices, which was all done in a civilised and friendly manner.

The day was a success, no one was arrested or hurt, and we didn’t have to use the fortitude we had built up the previous night, nor the learned skills of dealing with forcible removal.

Business as usual cannot continue, and breakfree2016 actions around the world coordinated by 350 made that clear. There are risks involved, of arrest, of having force used against you, of upsetting people, and perhaps most worrying of all, of this not producing the changes we urgently need.

This event gave me courage to engage in similar actions again. Between courage and hope, we may have all we need to produce transformation.

“The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

Alice Walker

 

Fonterra scraps plans for one of two coal-fired boilers, but should drop both

Press release May 5 2016

That Fonterra has decided to scrap plans to build one of two coal-fired milk driers in South Canterbury is a good start, but the company could take a step further and cancel the entire project, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.

In response to strong opposition, including from CANA, Fonterra has told Environment Canterbury (1) that it no longer wants to build two coal-fired milk driers at its Studholme expansion outside Waimate in South Canterbury and has scaled plans back to just one.  It has promised that this one plant would be a hybrid that could burn up to 20 per cent biomass instead of just coal, but still hasn’t committed to burning that biomass.

Chch 1

Protest outside a Fonterra distribution plant in Christchurch

“Fonterra has taken us halfway to the right point,” said Coal Action Network’s Cindy Baxter.  “It has heard our opposition, but it hasn’t quite got the full message.  It should cancel the second plant as well.”

“From our calculations, even one new boiler would require around 270,000 more cows (2) in the area to feed the plant, equivalent to plonking a city bigger than Los Angeles into the area, without a sewerage system. This is smaller than our original estimate of a Jakarta-sized footprint, but is still way more than the local environment can cope with.”

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