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Environmentalists slam government hypocrisy

Environmentalists slam government hypocrisy

The Save Happy Valley Coalition has slammed the Government for not only failing to take action on climate change but misleading the public with claims of 'clean coal.'

"Coal is not sustainable; the Government cannot claim to be seriously addressing climate change if coal makes up any part of that policy. The technologies for carbon capture do not yet exist on an industrial level and are at least 50 years away," said Frances Mountier, Save Happy Valley Coalition spokesperson. "Most importantly, every coal fired power station and coal mine that is created now will emit carbon dioxide for their lifetimes.

"New Zealand already exports more than 2.4 million tonnes of coal per year, and every year more than 5 million tonnes are extracted. The Government's claim that a sustainable national energy policy could include increasing quantities of a non-renewable fossil fuel is unacceptable.

"'Clean coal' is simply greenwash created by the coal industry," said Ms Mountier. The Energy Panel of the Royal Society, New Zealand's academy of sciences, has said that barring a technology breakthrough, coal is not a sustainable option for the long term. Even the Economist magazine has declared the burning of coal to be environmental enemy number one.

"How can the Government claim to seriously address climate change while state-owned enterprise Solid Energy plans to create diesel from lignite at its Ohai mine? That process creates twice as much carbon dioxide as normal fuel use. The Government should put their bulldozers with their mouth is; there must be no new coal mine in Happy Valley and plans for coal fired power stations Marsden B and Birchfield must be dumped," said Ms Mountier.



1. RSNZ report: /2020: Energy Opportunities Book I – Overview/, p. 20, retrievable from http://www.rsnz.org/advisory/energy/

2. Save Happy Valley are holding a beach party outside state-owned coal miner Solid Energy's headquarters on Friday 3rd November, to highlight the new coastline that coal companies may commit the world to by the end of the century. The event starts at 3:45pm at 2 Show Place, Christchurch.

3. The Stern report presented to the British Government found that the economic
costs of not addressing climate change far outweigh the cost of converting to renewables.

3. The Save Happy Valley Coalition is a collection of groups and individuals from around Aotearoa committed to stopping Solid Energy's proposed open cast coal mine in Happy Valley (Upper Waimangaroa Valley) on the West Coast. They work to raise awareness on climate change in New Zealand. They are also deeply concerned about the fate of all endangered species under threat from Solid Energy – such as the Powelliphanta snail at the nearby Mt Augustus. The Coalition is made up of West Coast locals, students, workers and the general public. The group has a track record of creative protests, occupations and lock-ons as well as producing a variety of informative media. More information about the coalition and its history can be found at http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/aboutus.htm


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