Tag 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.”


Chch council should drop climate deniers from expert review panel


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

Fonterra finally admits its coal mine is “on hold”

By Jeanette Fitzsimons

Fonterra has just confirmed, in a letter to local residents, that its proposed mine at Mangatangi, in the Waikato, is “on hold” – confirming CANA’s claim earlier this year.

Auckland Coal Action protest at Fonterra's proposed Mangatangi mine.

Auckland Coal Action protest at Fonterra’s proposed Mangatangi mine.

We can’t help but smile,  because the day after we wrote a blog in February, saying the mine was “on hold indefinitely” a furious Fonterra claimed in the NBR that the mine was not on hold, but simply “delayed.”

The difference was never made clear to us and we remained puzzled at Fonterra’s overreaction to what appeared to be a nicety of the English language.

Last week, six months later, this is what Fonterra, through its Glencoal subsidiary, said in a letter to local residents:

“It has recently been decided to put the development of Mangatangi mine on hold, given the economic position of Fonterra and the dairy industry generally.”

Continue reading

The Imperative to Leave it in the Ground

Guest blog by Tarsh Turner, a member of the NZ Youth Delegation at the climate talks in Lima. 

tarsh at the talks

Tarsh at the talks

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been working to avert climate disaster for over two decades.

While there are a myriad of challenges in attempting to get nations to agree to an action plan to save our planet, there is one major flaw in attempts to date.

UNFCCC negotiations have dealt only with emissions; governments are required to produce emissions reduction targets, and market mechanisms are aimed at making it more expensive to emit. Continue reading

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter November 2014

What’s in this newsletter? 

1.  Upcoming Events

2.  Heads in the Sand! Join us on December 7

3.  The Elections – analysis from Jeanette Fitzsimons

4.  The IPCC – and New Zealand’s response

5.  Honey I shrunk the Board!  Bathurst Resources AGM

6. Bathurst extracts its first coal from Denniston

7. Wood energy prospects exciting

8. The “Beyond Coal and Gas Conference,” Australia

9.  Jobs After Coal report

10. From our Blog

11.  seeing off climate deniers

12. A special message from the Flat Earth Society

13. Divestment: decisions building

14. Climate voter march – report from Christchurch

15 Want to get coal news from around the world?

1. Upcoming Events

November 29-30  Step it Up – tools for systematic change (Auckland)

December 6         Ahipara Stop Statoil Concert  – and Ridesharing site from Auckland here

December 7          Heads in the Sand (National). See our Facebook event (and below for more info).

2.  Heads in the Sand – Save the Date on December 7

Our Government, with its relentless focus on minerals extraction policies and addiction to dairy, has got its head in the sand on climate change.  We’ve had enough of its weak, “let everyone else go first” attitude on climate, and its ongoing minerals extraction programme that threatens our beaches, our water, our coastlines and our Maui’s dolphins.

So we’ve decided to organise a Day of Action at beaches around the country on December 7, to send a message to the Government that we think it has its head in the sand on these issues.

The date coincides with the beginning of the second week of the international climate change talks in Lima, when our Ministers will be either there, or getting ready to leave.

We now have events set up in these places (links are to Facebook page events)

Dunedin:           1200 St Clair Beach
Christchurch     1200 New Brighton Pier
Nelson               11.30 Tahunanui Beach
Wellington        11.30 Oriental Bay
Auckland’s West Coast:  Bethells Beach, 1000 am

Invercargill:  meet on Oreti beach from 11.30 a.m. for a midday photo call, which will be followed by a family picnic. Organised by Coal Action Murihiku. Contact Jenny Campbell, 027 351 0180, jennycam@xtra.co.nz or Dave Kennedy 027  258 6686, vickbick.davek@xtra.co.nz

Ahipara:  watch for news of the event on our facebook page.

Lima: a small team of kiwis will carry out this action on Lima’s Miraflores beach.

We’re looking for an Auckland person to be an on-the-ground contact for an event at Mission Bay, because lots activists will be up north in Ahipara. If you can help with this, please email  coalactionnetwork@gmail.com

If you want to hold an event at your own beach, create a Facebook event and post it up on our main event page, and we’ll promote it for you. We’ve set up a Facebook page as an overall event page.   Also please let us know – email coalactionnetwork@gmail.com

It’s a really easy event to do – on our page we have details of the “how to” (with health and safety guidelines, plus media guidelines) and we think it’ll send a strong message.  This event was done in Australia as a message to Prime Minister Tony Abbott but, to be honest, our Government is no better.  We’ll also have a media plan to go with it and instructions to support you.

Please help us promote this event in the next two weeks by sharing on Facebook and with your friends and, of course, taking part.  


3.   The elections  

– Jeanette Fitzsimons

So: the election has come and gone and nothing has changed, except the perception that John Key has a renewed mandate to drill, mine and frack. It’s hard not to despair – so much more harm can be done in the next three years.

And of course he doesn’t really have that mandate. Surveys have shown that a substantial majority of kiwis want government to invest in clean energy rather than in extracting more fossil fuels.

But maybe it has to get worse to get better: to mobilise people to fight back. I’m just back from the Beyond Coal and Gas conference in Queensland where 270 committed activists strategised. They really have a nation-wide movement now, with more than 200 local “lock the gate” groups, a number of successful blockades and divestment campaigns, and traveling across the country to support each others’ actions.

That is not an accident; Australia is one giant fossil fuel mine, and people have reacted by becoming more active, more informed, more strategic and more co-operative. They have great communications and great financial analysis. We are going to need the same to protect Aotearoa from the new coal mines and deep sea oil fields that the Government and their corporate friends will be trying to foist on us over the next three years.

Where do you fit in? Will you join us at the next action?  Heads in the Sand, we hope, will be the first of many actions over the coming year.

4.  The IPCC – and New Zealand’s response

– Cindy Baxter

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has now released its final report – and it’s not great news.  The global assessment of more than 30,000 studies concludes that climate change is here, we’re causing it. What’s more, we have to rid the global electricity system of fossil fuels by 2050 – and the world of fossil fuels by 2100 if we want to keep warming below 2degC.  Carbon Brief has a good summary of what’s in the report.

The good news is that IPCC says it’s not going to cost a lot to do this, and renewable energy is on the up, especially in developing countries.   There are so many resources on the IPCC it’s difficult to know where to start.  This video is great.  The Tree (produced by the Global Campaign for Climate Action) has  a full set of resources.

The New Zealand Government “welcomed” the report, but Climate Change Minister went on to say that he didn’t want to hurt the bank accounts of big business by adopting “The Greens Agenda”.  No, Minister, it’s not the Greens’ agenda, it’s a global one, led by UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon. New Zealand’s contribution to the global debate so far has been to weaken our Emissions Trading Scheme, and suggest to the international community that the global agreement to be finalised in Paris next year should not include legally binding emissions reductions.  I have blogged on this, and a Pentagon report saying that climate change is an immediate threat to global security, here at Hot Topic.

5. Honey I shrunk the Board!

A team of hardy “faux” shareholders turned out in Wellington on the morning of Bathurst’s AGM on Friday 14 November, armed with reports and faux board members, to hold the “alternative” AGM, one that talked about a real future.  We called it our “Alternative Stakeholder Meeting”.

It was a peaceful affair, with the team managing to get into the legal offices where the meeting was held and get through about half our own stakeholder meeting agenda before one of the law firm’s partners got around to asking us to leave. By then, we’d managed to make a considerable impression on Bathurst shareholders arriving for their AGM.

We then ran through our entire stakeholder meeting on The Terrace .  There are photos and press release on our blog here and more photos on 350.org’s Facebook page.

The blog’s headline refers to the fact that Bathurst is so strapped for money they had to fire two members of their own Board to save some cash.

6.  Bathurst extracts its first coal from Denniston
-Jeanette Fitzsimons

Despite all our best efforts, we have to make the painful announcement that Bathurst is extracting its first coal from the Escarpment mine on the Denniston plateau.

For two and a half years we challenged them in the courts. From the first hearing in Westport, to Forest & Bird’s challenges in the Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, to a parallel process where we assisted West Coast Environment Network arguing whether they should have to consider the impact of the coal on climate change, which ran in the Environment Court, the High Court and eventually in the Supreme Court.

During all this Rob Morris toured with his stunning photos of the wildlife on the plateau, and Forest & Bird held “bioblitzes” to discover new species in the mine area. Finally they needed a consent to operate from the minister of Conservation who despite his title decided this exceptional biodiversity didn’t matter.

But sometimes when you lose, you win. While all this was going on the international price of coking coal dropped from over $300/tonne to $107, making mining uneconomic for Bathurst.

They have dropped their production target from 500,000 MT/y rising to 2MT/y, to just 75,000 MT in the first year. They plan to use it in the local market and to send some overseas to potential customers to prove quality. We wonder how, at that price, they plan to pay the $40m they will owe to L&M, from whom they bought the mine, once they have extracted 25,000 tonnes.

No reputable analyst expects coal prices to rise in the next few years. They will make a smallish mess of the plateau, and we are sad and angry about that, but most of the coal will stay in the ground at present prices.

Further, the next 6-7 mines they plan on the plateau are unlikely to proceed.

7.  Wood energy prospects exciting
– Jenny Campbell

The focus on using wood as an energy source was the theme at the launch of the Wood EnergySouth project in late October, with about 70 people from across Southland businesses, schools, forestry interests and local and central government intent on learning of the potential.

‘’The target from the project is to deliver 55 000 cubic metres of woodchips being delivered annually to industries such as the meat works as well as smaller businesses and schools,’’ technical support advisor, Venture Southland, Lloyd McGinty says.  The scheme had incentives on offer as well as capital support for projects switching away from coal to wood.

Two highlights of the day were site visits to McCallum Group laundry at Otepuni Avenue, Invercargill with its recycled wood chip boiler and as a contrast, Slinkskins at Thornbury with their new, state of the art industrial heat plant.

Managing Director of McCallum Group, Wayne McCallum spoke to about 30 people at his plant, about their pioneering efforts in converting from LPG and oil.  Buying a lignite boiler from a dairy factory and converting it to a wood chip boiler was a good investment, and had huge benefits in fuel savings, savings on boiler maintenance, health and safety benefits.

People were impressed with the cleanliness of the boiler room and their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint by a further 25%. Support from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) had been invaluable with their support and advice and they are available on a continuing basis now through this Wood Energy South project, funded by the government.

Information for all the different applications for schools, industrial, commercial and service providers are on the website.

8. The “Beyond Coal and Gas Conference,” Australia
– Rosemary Penwarden

Fighter planes flew low in formation over our heads, adding to the unreality of the Beyond Coal and Gas conference near Brisbane recently; unreal because I had flown over fresh snow on the Maungatuas near Dunedin Airport to arrive in 39 degree heat in the Lucky Country, just as Australian Super Hornets had flown their 43rd sortie into Iraq as part of the US-led operation “Inherent Resolve”. The planes weren’t spying on us – there was an air force base nearby, but despite the heat it sent a chill down my spine.

There’s another war going on in Australia. On one side is a fossil fuel industry displaying all the signs of desperation as it scrapes and sucks coal and coal seam gas (CSG) from below the feet and livelihoods of Australians in a mad rush to meet shareholder expectations, endangering all in its path, including Australia’s most precious natural resource, its water.

On the other side are growing numbers of people from all walks of life, from farms and cities, young and old, black, brown and sunburned white, standing up and saying NO. Many hundreds of arrests, blockades, sit-ins, and all kinds of creative and peaceful direct action have followed community meetings. Australia’s biggest ever social movement is on the rise.

My favourite story from the weekend was of a farmer, at first defeated and depressed about the CSG invasion of his region, organising, blockading his land alongside neighbours, indigenous people and environmentalists, and finally donating 1,000 acres of it back to the local aboriginals, the nation’s ‘first owners’ (who say they do not ‘own’ Mother Earth – she owns them). Before the blockade changed his life, he had never spoken to an aboriginal person.

People power is giving the Australian government and fossil fuel industrial ‘war’ machine a run for its money and in places it’s winning.

For the amazing and inspiring story of the Bentley Blockade in the Northern Rivers, NSW: http://csgfreenorthernrivers.org/about-the-csg-free-campaign/

Front line action on coal to save the Laird State Forest.

Lock the Gate alliance

I felt privileged to meet so many committed, ‘ordinary’ people who understand the science and threat of climate change, who understand what needs to be done and are doing it. They are not defeated. They will win.

9. Jobs After Coal report
– Rosemary Penwarden

Jeanette and I took CANA’s Jobs After Coal report to Australia in the last week of October, to the Beyond Coal and Gas conference where we met up with around 270 campaigners against coal and coal seam gas. Our “Just Transitions” workshop attracted a big crowd and plenty of discussion.

We’re at different stages in the shift away from coal here in New Zealand, with half the coal mining workforce already gone in the past few years, but layoffs and mine closures are now increasing in Australia. Discussions are underway in the Aussie union movement and, as in New Zealand, the transition to renewables is happening despite a backward-looking, head-in-the-sand and hand-in-the-coal-industry’s-pocket government.

One of the really interesting movements taking root there is Earthworker Co-operativea community-led initiative to provide sustainable, wealth-creating jobs that empower local communities and provide clean energy solutions.

10. On our blog

What you may have missed in our recent blogs:

Why would a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement be bad for the climate? Tim Jones explains.

National’s Mining Agenda Has Failed by Tim Jones: After two terms of promoting mining, and bending over backwards to accommodate mining, and opening up conservation land and the seabed to mining, and removing legal impediments to mining – National has nothing to show for it.

11. Seeing off climate deniers

We were struck with horror on the morning on 4 November when TVNZ’s Breakfast show ran a full interview with the NZ Climate Science Coalition’s Bryan Leyland as part of its IPCC coverage.

They just let him talk his terrible nonsense about how the world wasn’t warming.  A really good blog went up on Hot Topic about how wrong Leyland was, and many of us set about tweeting to TVNZ, commenting on their Facebook post and making formal complaints.  We understand our climate scientists were also pretty upset.

By the afternoon, TVNZ had gotten the message, and took the whole story and video down off its website.  They left their Facebook post up, which links to nowhere, but which has the deluge of outrage.  Thanks to everyone who joined the fray – it was worth it.  Let’s hope TVNZ is a little more careful when considering interviewing climate cranks like this in the future. Leyland is an engineer, and not a climate scientist,  and to let him have such a clear run in the face of a global assessment of 30,000 studies was terrible.

We would like to see TVNZ taking a look at how it covers scientific issues, especially climate science, just as the BBC has. The BBC’s Trust has issued guidelines on science reporting.  Its review says:

“The BBC has a duty to reflect the weight of scientific agreement but it should also reflect the existence of critical views appropriately. Audiences should be able to understand from the context and clarity of the BBC’s output what weight to give to critical voices…. Judging the weight of scientific agreement correctly will mean that the BBC avoids the ‘false balance’ between fact and opinion”

12. A special update from the Flat Earth Society.

There’s this outfit called the Flat Earth Society who want to be friends with those who claim global warming is a conspiracy.  They sent us details of an outing they had in Dunedin on the occasion of a visit by Australian climate sceptic Bob Carter.

“On the 9th day of September in the Year of Our Lord 2014, on the occasion of the noble endeavour of His Eminence the Emeritus Bob Carter to strike down the Conspiracy of those Treacherous Scientists and Greens who have forced our government in the City of Wellington to pay homage to the dark Lords of NIWA, NASA and the veritable nest of vipers that is the IPCC, we, of the Dunedin Branch of the Flat Earth Society, had the great pleasure of welcoming Him and extending the hand of Friendship and Solidarity.

“We rejoice that we have found a like-minded soul battling such a global conspiracy, and rejoice that the esteemed and intelligent University of Otago Vice Chancellor saw fit to allow our Dear Bob to speak in our fair but misguided City. Our arm of Friendship and Solidarity extends to this Dear Lady.

“We await, with usual unlimited patience, a reply from His Eminence Bob Carter, to our humble request to share with us some of the bright fine gold that has come his way in support of his Great Mission from most venerable sources, such as the Heartland Institute and their friends ExxonMobil, Koch Brothers and Scaife Family Foundations.”

13. Divestment decisions building

New Zealand Institutions have been among the leaders of the pack on divestment from fossil fuels.  First, we had the New Zealand and Pacific diocese of the Anglican Church pledged to get out of fossil fuels.  It was followed soon after by the Dunedin City Council voting to endorse divestment.  However Dunedin still has a final decision pending:  please sign here to support Dunedin Councillors to do the right thing!).

Then this month the Victoria University Council made a similar decision.  Every week there seem to be new institutions around the world joining the fray, including Stanford University and the Rockefeller Family Fund.

In Australia, there’s been a huge debate, especially after Australian National University made the pledge, and was greeted with howls of derision from the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Education Minister, no doubt spurred on by the mining industry mouthpiece, the Minerals Council.   But the ANU has held its ground.  The whole story can be found here on The Tree (these alerts are great for people wanting to keep up with climate developments) There will be many more to follow.

We’ve seen ourselves here in New Zealand that investment in the coal industry isn’t exactly returning large sums to its shareholders, including Solid Energy and Bathurst Resources, both of which could be described right now as stranded assets.

The wave is getting bigger and we’re very proud that our institutions are part of it.   Special mention here for CANA’s own Jenny Campbell for her tireless work on the Anglican Church.

14. Climate Voter March – great turnout in Christchurch

– Rachel Eyre

A week before the election, and a week prior to the People’s Climate March that started in New York , we held our own spectacular March for Action on the Climate in Christchurch, organised by a diverse NGOs around the Climate Voter theme. Whilst we only had 300 people in contrast to New York’s 400,000 (!), the day was wet and cold and most people would be forgiven for sitting comfortably at home, resigned to the fate of a predetermined election result.  However a wide range of people did turn out with their signs and their umbrellas. We had young and old, Councillors, politicians (you can guess the colours), professionals, including a group of midwives with their babes in arms, and ordinary folk.

These people were not all your typical hardcore environmentalists. For some it was the first time they’d participated in anything like a march but felt compelled to vent their concerns.

The aim of the march was to be as inclusive as possible and to portray climate change as more than an environmental issue, but a social, health and economic one too.  The unifying message was “We want to see effective government action on climate change.”

The atmosphere was very positive and after marching down Riccarton Rd we gathered in Hagley Park for speeches, photos and the deflation of a giant-sized dinosaur representing “down with dinosaur thinking!”

Christchurch will also be one of the places aiming for a great turn out for the ‘Heads in the Sand’ event on 7 December at New Brighton Beach.

15.  Want to read Coal news from around the world?

  • We can heartily recommend subscribing to CoalWire, an international newsletter for people working on coal around the world. This weekly update gives news on everything from local activism in Australia, India and China (and elsewhere) to what’s going on in the world of coal commodities.  Sign up here.
  • There’s also an international website dedicated to #endcoal (that’s the hashtag from here on, twitterers).   Endcoal.org hasn’t got any kiwi stuff on it yet, but it will.

Continue reading

Mining decision a tragedy for Denniston plateau

DumpDennistonLogoCoalPress release

The news that Bathurst plans to start mining at Denniston on 1 July is a tragedy for the stunning ecology of the plateau, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.

“Not only is this a tragedy for the beautiful plateau, it is also a tragedy for the climate, as every new coal mine is stealing from our children’s future,” said Jeanette Fitzsimons, a spokesperson for CANA.
Continue reading

Nationwide week of action calls on Westpac to stop financing climate change

DumpDennistonLogoCoalPress Release from Coal Action Network Aotearoa & 350 Aotearoa

Westpac banks right across New Zealand will be the focus of a week of action this week, calling on the bank to stop funding Bathurst Resources’ bid to mine the Denniston Plateau.

The campaign, organised by 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa, began at a leading branch of Westpac in Christchurch on Saturday with around 20 activists staging a “die in” (see YouTube video). Actions will begin rolling out in other centres today, and will continue until next Saturday, with a total of 13 different towns confirmed at this point.

Bathurst Resources plans to dig up to 84 million tonnes of coal from the West Coast’s beautiful Denniston Plateau that would add up to 218 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and have a devastating effect on the area’s unique ecosystem. Westpac is providing financial backing for Bathurst Resources.

‘Westpac has not responded to calls to live up to their own promises and stop funding climate change, so we’re calling on them to do so.  We don’t consider investing in coal mining is at all consistent with Westpac’s claims that it is ‘future proofing’ its business,” said Ashlee Gross of 350 Aotearoa.

Tim Jones of Coal Action Network Aotearoa said the two groups had recently met with bank executives for a discussion about the campaign.

“In our meeting with Westpac, it became very clear to us that their so-called ‘sustainability’ policy is more about PR than it is about real action,” he said.

At least 80% of fossil fuels reserves must remain unburned in order to keep global warming to 2 degrees. The World Bank and European Investment Bank have recently announced their intentions to stop lending to coal projects, based on climate change concerns

The groups have launched a website where the public can send letters to Westpac calling on them to ‘Dump Denniston.’. 1200 letters have already been sent.

There will be activities this week in Warkworth, Auckland (2), Hamilton, Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington, Nelson, Motueka, Takaka, Dunedin, Gore and Invercargill.

Join the event on facebook 

As Environment Court approves Denniston mine, all eyes on Westpac

UPDATE: Next Wednesday lunchtime in Wellington (13/11), help us tell Westpac to stop funding coal mining on the Denniston Plateau: https://www.facebook.com/events/218849471621945/


Press Release
In the wake of the Environment Court’s approval of Bathurst’s opencast mine on the beautiful Denniston plateau, 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa today renewed their call for Westpac Bank to drop its support for the mine.

Already, more than 800 people have sent letters to Westpac as part of the “Westpac dump Denniston coal” campaign, launched last week in Auckland. This week saw a temporary “climate change crime scene” outside a main Westpac branch in Wellington catching the eye of lunchtime passersby, and many similar protests are expected to roll out across the country in the coming weeks as the campaign picks up. Continue reading

Newsletter July 2013

Kia Ora all

The last month or so has seen a number of revelations on several of our coal fronts.  From Solid Energy walking away from the briquetting plant in Southland to ongoing developments for Bathurst Resources’ efforts to start mining the beautiful Denniston plateau, it’s been hard to keep up with it all.  Yet still, none of them are digging up any more coal. Let’s try and keep it that way.

What’s in this update?

1.     Lignite briquetting plant

2.     Denniston update

3.     Bathurst, new neighbour in a small town

4.     Bill McKibben tour and divestment

5.     Auckland Coal Action’s fight against Fonterra’s coalmine

6.     Coming up:  Generation Zero’s “What’s the Holdup” Tour

7.     Film about “Bidder 70” coming to NZ

8.      International – and climate science catchup

9.     Other news and resources

1.  Lignite briquetting plant

The trials of the Solid Energy/GTL briquetting plant continue at Mataura, with Solid Energy announcing late last month that it will walk away from the plant.  The media covered little of this announcement, but you can find out a lot more about what’s been going on there from our press release on the day.

Given our network includes locals living near to the plant, we have been able to get a lot more information about what’s been going on there – a lot more than what the media’s been covering.  And none of it’s good.

We also managed to get, through the Official Information Act, a document showing us what we suspected: the GTL plant in North Dakota had a massive explosion and is now being dismantled.  So this technology remains experimental.  Why should beautiful Southland farmland be dug up so that GTL can continue to try out its dirty technology to sell it on to Indonesia?

Solid Energy sponsorship under scrutiny:  You may also have missed this article about the millions Solid Energy spent on sponsorship.  We call it buying out criticism and it’s something that most coal and oil companies do to stop local protest about their activities. Continue reading

Getting used to the ‘new normal’

Cow in dry weather, Wairarapa.  Photo Dave Allen, NIWA

Cow in dry weather, Wairarapa. Photo Dave Allen, NIWA

As I flew up the country from Wellington to Auckland this week, on yet another beautiful day, I was struck by the colour of our country.

Brown. Burned to a crisp.  The occasional smattering of green forest, but an island suffering from its  worst drought in 70 years, as I’d heard climate scientist Jim Salinger saying on the radio that morning.

Next I’m listening to Bill English saying farmers can’t expect get the same level of support in future droughts, if they continue to happen with more frequency, as NIWA tells us they will.

Meanwhile John Key is in Brazil pleading with oil giant Petrobras to come back, and an industry-written report tells us we should drill all over the East Coast.

Continue reading