Author: Cana Admin

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. 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,...

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Coal, climate change, and the New Zealand economy: winners, losers, and long-term users

As the country reeled with the news last week that Solid Energy had gone into administration with a $300m debt, another event was happening in the Pacific that puts the debate in a context that it too seldom receives in New Zealand. On Thursday, Kiribati Prime Minister Anote Tong wrote to world leaders calling for a moratorium on new coalmines. “Kiribati, as a nation faced with a very uncertain future, is calling for a global moratorium on new coal mines. lt would be one positive step towards our collective global action against climate change and it is my sincere hope that you and your people would add your positive support in this endeavour,” he wrote. “The construction of each new coal mine undermines the spirit and intent of any agreement we may reach, particularly in the upcoming COP 21 in Paris, whilst stopping new coal mine constructions NOW will make any agreement reached in Paris truly historical.” UK Economist Sir Nicholas Stern agreed: “The use of coal is simply bad economics, unless one refuses to count as a cost the damages and deaths now and in the future from air pollution and climate change,” he told Reuters (Stern’s full statement here). In June, Pope Francis said in his encyclical that the use of “highly polluting fossil fuels needs to be progressively replaced without delay.” Has John Key received his...

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It’s time the Government saw the writing on the wall for coal

Press Release  Coal Action Network Aotearoa today called for the Government to “get real” about the future of coal. Solid Energy going into administration is good for the workers currently employed by Solid Energy in the short term, but the future of coal is looking bleak. “It’s good that no workers will lose their jobs today,” said CANA’s Cindy Baxter. “But, our “Jobs After Coal” report shows coal mining in New Zealand doesn’t have a history of helping the communities it serves – in most areas where coal is mined, the median income of those communities is lower than the regional average.” The Government has continually failed to face the reasons for Solid Energy’s freefall in recent years.  It pushed the company into an untenable position by changing policies such as the mandatory biofuels regulation, and backed the its failed and highly irresponsible plans to mine billions of tones of Southland lignite. What’s more, the Government continued to insist that Solid went into more debt, all the time ignoring the plummeting coal prices.   “Coal is on the way out. If the Government had woken up to this fact a few years ago, a serious discussion about a Just Transition away from coal would already have been well underway,” said Baxter. While the company will continue trading, CANA said there are questions that have to be asked: “Who is going...

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NZ nears the end of coal-fired power: all eyes on Fonterra

Press Release  Coal Action Network Aotearoa today welcomed Genesis Energy’s announcement that it will close its Huntly coal-fired power station – but noted that this would now bring close scrutiny onto the next biggest coal user: Fonterra. “The Genesis announcement will give the owners of the consented wind and geothermal projects the certainty to go ahead and build, creating jobs in a clean energy future,” said Jeanette Fitzsimons of CANA. “We have more than enough renewable projects in the pipeline to replace Huntly coal and most of our gas-fired power stations,” she said. “The question is how will Fonterra explain to its customers that it will now be going head-to-head with industrial steelmaking to be New Zealand biggest cause of coal-fired climate disruption.” Fonterra is New Zealand’s third largest coal user. Its coal use has grown by 38 precent since 2008 and more growth is planned as it ignores the options of more sustainable waste wood-fired boilers in favour of coal for its milk drying...

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