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New Coal Mine to Add Fuel to Burning Planet

Press Release
Rising Tide Aotearoa
Thursday 26th May, 3pm
For immediate release.

NEW COAL MINE TO ADD FUEL TO BURNING PLANET

An Environment Court ruling allowing a new opencast coal mine on the West Coast will add further fuel to climate change.State-owned coal company, Solid Energy, is now able to proceed with its plans to mine Happy Valley, ultimately resulting in the creation of 13 million tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide (CO2).

It will also lead to the continuing pollution of the local community and the destruction of a rare ecology that includes prime kiwi habitat.

"It's like a company adding coal to a house on fire while you're trying to save it from burning down. Not only that, the same company is making a profit from it and the Government is giving it the official go-ahead," said Rising Tide spokesperson Simon Oosterman.

A recent international report stated that earth has only 10 years to avert catastophic climate change before it may be too late.(1)

"Scientists have warned that climate change is an international emergency that will cause more frequent and severe weather extremes, such as the recent flooding in Tauranga, but on a larger scale and with bigger human and economic costs," said Mr Oosterman.

"The Environment Court ruling has once again shown that the Government's signing of the Kyoto Protocol and its carbon tax policy to be what they truly are: a greenwash and a smokescreen," he said.

"The Government is investing in coal at a time when we need to be making a rapid and just transition to clean and renewable energy. Our greenhouse gas emissions are already 20% above the Kyoto Protocol's required reductions, and rising." (2)

International community groups warn that market-led solutions like carbon taxes and the Kyoto Protocol, (which is far below the 60-80% reductions called for by climate scientists,) will make matters worse by privatising the problem, and thereby exacerbating the social inequalities at the heart of climate change.(3)

"The Environment Court ruling will not stop up from occupying the Happy Valley site again or taking action against Solid Energy. If a Government official told you it was illegal to save your community from burning down or flooding, what would you do? The Government is defending the fossil fuel industry which is forcing us take more direct measures to protect our only home, the planet, by physically stopping them."

"Who are the real criminals?" he concluded.

ENDS

Rising Tide spokesperson Simon Oosterman is available for interview on:

021 1032 895, hm (09) 369-5350 or email: contact@risingtide.org.nz

For more information, visit: http://www.risingtide.org.nz and

http://happyvalley.enzyme.org.nz

1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4202649.stm

2. http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/other8314.html

3. http://www.carbontradewatch.org/news/kofi.html

Rising Tide Aotearoa is affiliated with the Save Happy Valley Campaign which has been actively opposing the proposed coal mine at Happy Valley for over a year.

Rising Tide is an international grassroots climate justice group. It advocates:

• A Just Transition‚ to renewable energy sources, with a low consumption lifestyle • Repayment of the ecological debt of the north to the south.

• Equal access to - and responsibility for - common global resources for all peoples.

• That solutions to climate chaos and the achievement of climate justice must be defined by those most severely affected.

• Current and future support for refugees of all kinds.

• A minimum of 60% reductions in carbon emissions now leading to a 90% cut.

Rising Tide is against:

• New Fossil fuel exploration

• Emissions trading, Carbon sinks, Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation and other false solutions being used as a way to escape responsibility for emissions reductions.

The Rising Tide network will take action until the threats of climate change have been resolved in an equitable and effective way.

The full political statement is available at:
http://risingtide.org.nz/politicalstatement

ENDS

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