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Kyoto Kicks Off With Occupation at Marsden B

Kyoto Kicks off Coal Condemnation and Occupation at Marsden B

Marsden Point, Wednesday, 16 February, 2004: As the sun rose on the historic day that the Kyoto Protocol comes into force, Greenpeace activists scaled the proposed coal-fired Marsden B power station just south of Whangarei.

Greenpeace activists mark Kyoto Day at Marsden Pt.

After scaling the 50m high structure, the four activists dropped a giant yellow banner reading "SAVE THE CLIMATE, STOP COAL" and featuring the image of a burning Earth.

Their demand: that the Government stop Mighty River Power's proposal to convert Marsden B from oil to a coal-fired power station, because of the millions of tonnes of climate-changing carbon dioxide that it will produce in its lifetime.

>From atop the mothballed power station, activist Kate Lowe said, "This would be the first coal-fired power station in New Zealand in 25 years – at a time when Kyoto has just come into force. Marsden B is a dirty, polluting power project, a climate killer and will leave a toxic legacy. If the Government is serious about Kyoto then it should stop this project now."

Mighty River Power has sought resource consent to discharge a raft of persistent and toxic substances to air, water and land. Marsden B would annually release up to 2.17 million tonnes of CO2. The resulting climate and toxic pollution directly undermines New Zealand's national and international commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and the Stockholm Convention.

"Last year the Government removed the right of local councils to fully assess climate change impacts when considering such projects. This power station is of national significance because it would establish coal as a legitimate energy source - which it is not. This is why central government must step in and stop it," says Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel.

"New Zealand urgently needs a sustainable energy strategy that gives national direction to the way we generate electricity by encouraging renewable technology such as wind farms, and stopping polluting power

sources such as coal," said Abel.

"We must urgently act to stop catastrophic climate change and that must begin with not building any more coal burning power stations. If we make use of Kyoto correctly, today should herald the age of renewable energy and the end of coal," concluded Abel.

Last month, an international group of scientists warned that we have only ten years to avert catastrophic climate change by reducing emissions – otherwise we may reach the point of no return (1).

Greenpeace is a signatory to the formal 'call in' letter sent to the Minister for the Environment that can be downloaded from: http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/MarsdenB/

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