Author Archives: cindybax

Who’s the real threat to security: Govt climate policy – or four climbers?


Coal Action Network Aotearoa today congratulated the Greenpeace climbers on the roof of Parliament drawing attention to the lack of Government action on climate change.

GPACTION“Who is the bigger threat to security here:  John Key’s apparent intention of letting global temperatures rise by 4degC by taking virtually no action  – or four peaceful activists and a few solar panels on a roof?” asked Jeanette Fitzsimons of CANA.

The Greenpeace action comes on the back of a Dutch Court yesterday ordering its Government to increase its 2020 emissions reduction target of 17% to at least 25%.  New Zealand’s target is 5 percent.

“The Dutch Government’s 2020 target was already better than New Zealand’s – yet the court ordered it to increase that target in order to ‘protect its citizens’.  The world is moving to tackle climate change, yet New Zealand seems intent on doing as little as possible,” said Cindy Baxter of CANA.

Making Unwise Investments With Our Superannuation

By Zella Downing, Coal Action Network Aotearoa 

Climate risk is being linked to investment risk, which makes sense.

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An unstable climate creates an unstable globe which creates an unstable market. How can commodity investors feel confident about their investment amidst record droughts, devastating floods, unprecedented snowfall, and an absence of water?

What doesn’t make sense is the New Zealand Superannuation Fund increasing its investment in coal over the last three years when the global movement to divest from coal is not only gaining momentum, it’s gaining mana as well.

Analysis by the Parliamentary Library and released by the Greens last week tells us our Superfund increased the value of its investments in the world’s twenty dirtiest coal companies from $29 million at June 30, 2011 to $36 million at June 30, 2014. As the Fund has increased its exposure to these companies, their average (unweighted) stock price declined by 31 percent.

This comes amid warnings from global investment analysts Mercer, who last week released the results of a year-long modeling exercise that looked at the impact of climate change on investments. Backed by the World Bank’s IFC, the German Economics Ministry and the UK’s Department for International Development, amongst others, it says:

“New investment modelling the potential impact of climate change on investments shows the average annual returns from the coal sub-sector could fall by anywhere between 18% and 74% over the next 35 years, with effects being more pronounced over the coming decade (eroding between 26% and 138% of average annual returns over the next 10 years).”
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One more week to tell the Government what climate action you want to see

This is a reminder that the Government’s consultation on what climate action New Zealand should take after 2020 is underway, and will finish on June 3, a week from today.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 9.16.14 amMany of you have attended the Ministry for the Environment’s meetings up and down the country.  The officials have clearly been surprised at the interest in its roadshow, having to make last-minute switches to larger venues in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.  Well done everybody for turning out.

However, many have been concerned and frustrated at the summaries given at the end of those meetings, which, many argue, did not reflect the strength of feeling among participants.  One person was taking notes, but we have no idea whether our strength of feeling has been properly conveyed to officials or, indeed, whether it will reach the ears of Ministers.  The media is certainly not helping us in this regard.

It’s  important that you make your voice heard in writing.

It does now look like MfE will make submissions public on its website. We look forward to reading those from industry, especially, given their public silence on this issue.

How can you make a submission?

Easy online submissions through various organisations
If you want your voice heard, but don’t have time to read through all the background and write your own, here’s some online submission forms that will make it easier for you:

Write your own submission

More details on the consultation

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Government consultations on climate policy

The Government is in the middle of its super-fast public consultations on its post-2020 climate policy – or its “intended nationally determined contribution” (INDC) – commonly known as a post 2020 emissions reduction target that must be submitted ahead of the climate talks in Paris later this year.

We hope the Government will take its head out of the sand for its post-2020 policy.  Photo credit: Ruth Dyson

We hope the Government will take its head out of the sand for its post-2020 policy. Photo credit: Ruth Dyson

They’ve already held a week of meetings around the country – our apologies for not getting this message to you earlier.

Please find pasted below the list of public meetings over the next two weeks – in Rotorua(today), Auckland (today), New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

It is important that as many of us take part in these meetings as possible, to give officials the message that we care about NZ having a strong climate change policy.
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Laid-off Stockton mineworkers and West Coast community deserve a future

Press Release

Former Solid Energy CEO Don Elder and Finance Minister Bill English turn the sod for Solid's failed lignite briquetting plant in Southland.

The “good old days”? Former Solid Energy CEO Don Elder and Finance Minister Bill English turn the sod for Solid’s failed lignite briquetting plant in Southland.

The Government must step in to help the 113 mineworkers who’ve been dumped by Solid Energy today – and the communities around them – to begin a discussion about an alternative future for the West Coast that doesn’t rely on a boom and bust industry, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.

With coal prices forecast to remain at record lows into the foreseeable future, and with investors dumping coal across the world, banking on the coal industry to provide an economic future for the West Coast would be a risky strategy.

On Saturday, CANA released an update of its Jobs After Coal report, which shows that 111 jobs have been lost in the coal industry since March last year. With today’s announcements, that number is now at 224, even with Bathurst Resources’ efforts to dig up more domestic coal to keep itself afloat.
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May Day at Blackball: we call for a new extractive industry on the coast

Jeanette Fitzsimons writes… 

Jeanette Fitzsimons speaking in Blackball on Saturday.

Jeanette Fitzsimons speaking in Blackball on Saturday.

There was a theme for this year’s May Day seminar at Blackball, up the river valley from Greymouth, and crucible for the formation of the mining unions:

“A Sustainable West Coast Economy: dream or possibility?”

CANA was invited to speak about “The problem with the extractive industries”. You can read my speech here – I launched our 2015 Jobs After Coal report, with updated figures on last year.

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New Jobs After Coal report – the future of coal is grim – but a transition to a better economy is underway

Press release

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 1.21.12 pmThe situation for the future of coal in New Zealand is getting increasingly grim by the day, and the Government must start looking at ways to help local economies like the West Coast transition away from coal, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.

The warning came from CANA representative Jeanette Fitzsimons, speaking in Blackball for May Day commemorations, where she launched an updated version of the group’s report, “Jobs After Coal.”

“Since we first published this report a year ago, there has been little good news for the coal industry.  Just two days ago, Goldman Sachs again wrote down its outlook for coking coal prices, which are predicted to stay low well into the future.” Continue reading