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'Clean Coal' A Myth Say Greens

8 February 2005

'Clean Coal' a myth say Greens

The Government is destroying New Zealand's clean, green reputation on the world stage, says Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton confirmed his enthusiasm for smokestacks when answering Ms Fitzsimons questions in Parliament today about his endorsement of Solid Energy's sponsorship of the New Zealand Pavilion at the Aichi World Expo.

"Jim Anderton's belief in the myth of 'clean coal' is so great that he is letting a coal mining company be New Zealand's face to the world, rather than one of the nation's genuine energy innovators," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Greens' Energy Spokesperson.

"Mr Anderton is calling Solid Energy sustainable, and therefore a suitable sponsor for our Expo Pavilion, because it is doing some research into removing the carbon emissions from burning coal that so far has had no results. This is a slap in the face for the many New Zealand firms that are actually producing innovative and sustainable energy solutions right now.

"The United States has spent $4 Billion on researching ways to reduce the greenhouse gas released by burning coal and hasn't got anywhere yet.

"Don Elder, the CEO of Solid Energy, admitted at a debate with me in Dunedin last year that there will be no technology to reduce carbon emissions from coal burning available in the next ten years.

"According to recent scientific reports we may have only ten years to turn things round before the world faces famine, disease and the collapse of agriculture. We can't afford to keep burning coal while Solid Energy tires to figure it out."

Next week the Kyoto Protocol comes into effect, just as the alarm bells about climate disruption are becoming louder. Oxford University recently reported that global warming could prove to be twice as catastrophic as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's worst predictions. And an international task force has concluded that the planet could reach 'the point of no return' within a decade.

"I do acknowledge that Solid Energy is doing a lot of work on how to clean up its appalling mining practices, water pollution and air pollution, particularly removing sulphur, although so far there has been little change on the ground. But until it has actually reduced carbon emissions, we should not be elevating them above sustainable businesses that have already found ways to produce clean energy or reduce their energy usage," said Ms Fitzsimons.


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