As Court approves Denniston mine, all eyes on Westpac
For Immediate Release - October 25 2013
As Environment Court approves Denniston mine, all eyes on Westpac
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.
“Westpac prides itself on its so-called ‘sustainability’ policy, but a growing number of people aren’t buying it. If Westpac continues to lend money to Bathurst for its dirty, climate-changing mine at Denniston, its sustainability claims will be exposed as pure greenwash,” said Kristin Gillies of Coal Action Network.
“The government has given its resource consent, but that’s far from the same thing as New Zealanders giving their stamp of approval to digging up the Denniston Plateau and putting 218 million tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere. We’re calling on Westpac to listen when its customers say they don’t want to be financing climate change,” said Ashlee Gross of 350.
The groups took issue with comments from the Buller District Mayor Garry Howard who has been arguing that Denniston coal is more environmentally responsible than Indian or Chinese coal. They noted that “unfortunately there is no such thing as environmentally responsible coal.” The Mayor also deliberately confused coking coal with thermal coal.
They highlight that the resource consent process takes no account of climate change. As the recently released IPCC report confirms, we need to peak global emissions within the next few years in order to have a credible chance of keeping global warming to 2 degrees C, our best chance to avoid major climate tipping points. That means taking a serious stance on seeing out existing coalmines, but saying no to new ones.