GREENPEACE PRESS RELEASE
Friday 12 March, 2004: Greenpeace is shocked with the Conservation Minister's approval today of a huge new coal mine at Pike River on the West Coast.
"The Labour Government's decision is completely inconsistent with their commitments to doing something about climate change. Coal burning emits more carbon dioxide than any other fossil fuel and carbon dioxide is the major cause of climate change. This is not just fiddling while Rome burns, its actively fuelling the fires", said Vanessa Atkinson, Greenpeace climate campaigner.
"Giving the go-ahead for the Pike River coal mine whilst Pacific Islands like Kiribati begin to go under the sea and New Zealand is battered with extreme weather events costing the country multi-millions in clean-up makes no sense at all," she said.
"The Pike River project will produce 650,000 to a 1.1 million tonnes of coal which will produce 2.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year over the two decade life of the mine. This decision and project is a throw back to the 1970s before we were aware of climate change and the direct impact that such projects have on our environment. Surely our government can move on from 1970's thinking!"
One million species could become extinct due to climate change, most by 2050, according to the scientific journal Nature in January. "Climate change will cause mass extinctions and ecosystem breakdown so it is as much as conservation issue as it is a broader environmental issue. The Minister's decision to give the Pike coal mine the green light is a further step in the wrong direction."
"Chris Carter as Minister for Conservation and as a participant on the Ministerial Panel on Climate Change is perfectly placed to ensure that economic development does not come at the cost of the climatic systems that support us," continued Ms Atkinson.
"We are living in an age of climate change and its impacts must be factored into all decisions that propose the mining and burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Climate scientists have calculated that we must leave 75% of all fossil fuels in the ground, never to be burnt, to avoid dangerous levels of climate change," concluded Ms Atkinson.
For more information contact:
Greenpeace Climate Campaigner: Vanessa Atkinson 021 565 165 Greenpeace Communications Officer: Suzette Jackson 021 577 556