Category Archives: climate change

Grandmothers and farmers block Fonterra plant

Press Release

Three grandmothers, a student and a farmer have this morning chained themselves to a gate to prevent coal being delivered to Fonterra’s Clandeboye dairy factory in South Canterbury.dsc_2258

At 7.30 am, the five locked themselves to the gate at the entrance to the factory’s coal plant, as a pile of woodchips was dumped in front of them, with the message “FONTERRA QUIT COAL,” while others were dressed as cows pointing to the woodchips as an alternative.  In all, 24 people are now at the site taking part in the protest.

One of the grandmothers is Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s (CANA) Jeanette Fitzsimons,joined by CANA’s Rosemary Penwarden, Auckland Coal Action’s Jill Whitmore (also a farmer), Mike Dumbar – one of the farmers who refused to sell his land to Solid Energy when it was buying up land for its now-abandoned plans for massive coal expansion project in Southland, and Charlie Montague – a health student from Dunedin.

“Fonterra is our second largest user of coal and this factory burns 180,000 tonnes of coal a year. All of this ends up in our atmosphere, contributing to climate change. It’s time for Fonterra to keep the coal in the hole and switch to woodchips instead,” said Ms Fitzsimons.

“Fonterra’s coal use is also propping up the mining industry – coal mines around the country are being re-opened and extended because of Fonterra’s addiction to coal.”

Fonterra is the largest customer for Bathurst Resources, which started mining the Denniston Plateau, but stopped when the coal price dropped.

“There is no question that without Fonterra, this company would have gone bust,” she added.

The protest has come at the end of CANA’s “Summerfest” in Ashburton, which has seen more than 50 campaigners from around the country gather for a two-day discussion around the issues of Coal, Cows and Climate.

“The meeting was extremely productive. New Zealand’s biggest contribution to climate change is agriculture, with rising emissions from the dairy industry in particular.   Farmers are being hit by the impacts of climate change, and everyone is experiencing the gathering crisis of water pollution.  These issues are all connected.”

 

Fonterra Rorts the ETS

from Jeanette Fitzsimons

It is perhaps no surprise that our friend Fonterra, as the second biggest coal user in NZ (and a substantial user of gas as well), is among the “dirty dozen” largest users of fraudulent ETS credits identified by the Morgan Foundation in their brilliant piece of research Who’s the Real Cheat Here? Climate Cheats II: The Dozen Dirty Businesses.

What is surprising is that in Zella’s creative graphic below, using figures from that report, Fonterra doesn’t look too bad. It comes tenth in the Morgan list and holds fewer shonky credits than the oil and electricity companies. Fonterra’s 1.2 million units, although still huge, compare favourably with BP’s 6.1 million units.

the-dirty-dozen-infographic-2

But Fonterra is worse than they look and here’s why:  

The ETS rules give free credits to “trade exposed” companies whose overseas competitors don’t have to pay any price for their carbon emissions. Fonterra is eligible for free credits equal to 60% of its process emissions.

These credits, worth up to $25 per unit on the international market, are paid out courtesy of the NZ taxpayer. Fonterra was expected to use them in part-payment for their emissions.

But they didn’t. Instead, like many other companies benefitting from this largesse, Fonterra cheated. They sold the credits at full price and bought dirt cheap credits from places like Russia and Ukraine which did not represent actual emissions reductions – in other words, they were fraudulent. They used these junk credits to pay their ETS obligation to the Government.

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Auckland Coal Action: Activists carry out Waikato coal mine inspection, leave climate message

A group of eight activists from Auckland Coal Action, many of them grandparents, have carried out an inspection of Solid Energy’s Kopako 1 coal mine in the Waikato to protest its redevelopment, and left a climate change message for the company.

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The mine, near Maramarua, in North East Waikato, has been dormant since the 1990s, but Solid Energy has now begun work to revive it.  The team confirmed after walking into the site that not only has overburden been removed, but coal mining from a seam has begun.

“Solid Energy is undertaking extensive development of this old coal mine, despite having no customers for the coal, and the international industry being in terminal decline,” said one of the activists, Geoff Mason of Auckland Coal Action.

“Meanwhile, the Government has signed the Paris Agreement which means that we have to get out of coal by 2050, globally, which means coal like this has to stay in the ground.

The team walked into the mine site, and spent around an hour at the coalface, wrapping a excavator in “climate crime scene” tape confirming that new mining has removed the overburden and is now digging up coal. They deployed signs and banners, before leaving again.

aca_image1

Among the activists who inspected the mine today was Phil, a great grandparent.

“I am seriously concerned about a climate changed future for my five great grandchildren – this is why I am here today, to tell Solid Energy and the Government to stop wasting taxpayers’ money, and keep the coal in the hole,” she said.

Auckland Coal Action is also concerned that one of the potential customers for the mine could be Fonterra, the country’s second-largest user of coal.  Fonterra was planning to open its own coal mine at nearby Mangatawhiri, but has put those plans on permanent hold.

“Solid Energy might be eyeing Fonterra as a potential customer, but Fonterra should be looking at changing its energy source to renewable wood and biomass rather than coal,” said Geoff Mason.

“What is clear is that this mine should be kept out of commission – for the climate, for the local environment and for our future.”

Check out more photos from the action, and watch this video in which Nick from Auckland Coal Action explains what’s on the line:

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 10.54.52 AM

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

A Trip Down The Rabbit Hole: Rosemary Penwarden Reports From The Fonterra Studholme Expansion Resource Consent Hearing

Rosemary Penwarden spent a day in the fantasy world of “Business as Usual” opposing Fonterra’s ten-fold expansion of its South Canterbury Studholme milk drying plant. Find out what it feels like to take a trip down the rabbit hole:

http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/380579/fonterra-has-no-future-do-we

 

The Grand Round: Dr Briary Crawford Zachernuk Speaks On Climate Change And Health

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:

https://soundcloud.com/briary-crawford-zachernuk/introduction

https://soundcloud.com/briary-crawford-zachernuk/direct-impacts

https://soundcloud.com/briary-crawford-zachernuk/ecosystem-mediated

https://soundcloud.com/briary-crawford-zachernuk/human-system-mediated-impacts-cobenefits-what-you-can-do

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:

http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/introduction

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/human-contribution-to-gw-faq.html#.Vrl2w1L81dg

http://climate.nasa.gov/faq/

Stand With Sarah For The Climate: Help Fund Her Legal Action Against The NZ Government

Sarah Thomson is taking the Government to court over its climate change target

Sarah Thomson is taking the Government to court over its climate change target

The good news: it appears that, in 2015, carbon dioxide emissions will actually drop – mainly thanks to China’s falling coal consumption.

The bad news: New Zealand’s emissions continue to rise steeply. The New Zealand’s Government pathetic lack of action on climate change, and its equally pathetic contributions to international climate negotiations, keeps earning New Zealand Fossil of the Day awards at the Paris climate talks.

New Zealanders aren’t taking this lying down, as the great turnout for November’s climate marches in 35 centres around the country showed. While groups like CANA campaign against New Zealand’s worst sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as Fonterra, law student Sarah Thomson is taking a different approach.

Sarah is launching a judicial review of the New Zealand Government’s completely inadequate emissions reduction targets – and you can help her fund that legal action. A similar action in Holland was successful recently – please donate to ensure the Government can be held to account.

 

 

 

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.

 

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 Banks To Do The Paris Pledge To Quit Coal

parispledge

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 http://dotheparispledge.org 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.