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Climate Polluter's Bogus Sustainability

Climate Polluter's Bogus Sustainability


In using a Chief Executive from one of the most polluting and unsustainable industries to present the annual Hopkins Lecture, the University of Canterbury and IPENZ, the professional engineers' body, are being socially irresponsible, says Save Happy Valley Christchurch.

Don Elder, CEO of Solid Energy, the state-owned coal mining company, will be presenting the lecture about 'sustainable' economy and energy.(1)

"Coal is a very energy intensive, polluting and non-renewable energy resource, and it is a key contributor to climate change. To argue the 'sustainability' of this fossil fuel is utter double-speak – plainly typical of the sustainability greenwash that is pervading our society," said Frances Mountier, Save Happy Valley Christchurch spokesperson.

"The Labour government pays lip-service to the issues of climate change and renewable energy, but simultaneously promotes the coal industry. Globally, and in New Zealand, addressing climate change is of the utmost importance. It is unacceptable for a state owned enterprise CEO - an industry lobbyist who promotes 19th century technologies - to proclaim to be a part of the sustainability debate. The shift away from fossil fuels in our future economy is a question of collective, and political, will. That the shift is required in order to ensure a sustainable future is undeniable. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has clearly stated that we need to be moving away from coal- and gas- fired power stations.

"Yet Don Elder's company currently plans an opencast coal mine in the stunning Happy Valley ecosystem, and is driving an endangered species to extinction at nearby Mt Augustus. The company has bought an estimated 17 properties around Mataura and in the Croydon area, in Southland, for a massive opencast mine to extract 2.1 billion tonnes of coal. Instead, New Zealand should take the world-leading step and say no to new mines in precious ecological areas," said Ms Mountier.

"The engineering profession can also play a crucial role in that world leading step through their group known as the Engineers for Social Responsibility. We call on them to take their own industry to account for continuing to uphold unsustainable practices. Then they could partake in a proper debate about how we are going to achieve true sustainability in this country, focused on the way we use energy, as well as alternatives of efficient, renewable generation, and an integrated approach. Our Coalition would welcome the opportunity to be involved," says Ms Mountier.


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