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Westpac Must Stop Funding Climate Chaos and Dump Denniston

Westpac Must Stop Funding Climate Chaos and Dump Denniston

Auckland, 15 October 2013 - Today 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa launched a nationwide campaign demanding that Westpac withdraw its financial support for Bathurst Resources, the company that plans to mine the Denniston Plateau.

Supporters from the two groups created a “climate crime scene” outside Westpac’s Head office in Auckland’s Takutai Square today, delivering a letter to CEO Peter Clare, accompanied by bags of coal. The message was simple: Stop funding climate change.

Bathurst Resources plans to dig up to 84 million tonnes of coal from the West Coast’s beautiful Denniston Plateau that would add up to 218 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and have a devastating effect on the area’s unique ecosystem. Westpac is providing financial backing for this project.

“Westpac says it puts sustainability at the heart of its culture and that this commitment covers operations as well as lending,” says Kristin Gillies, Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokesperson.

“The opencast Denniston coal mine is one of the most unsustainable and climate changing projects planned for New Zealand and Westpac should dump this dirty business.”

At least 80% of fossil fuels reserves must remain unburned if the world is to have a chance of staying below 2 degrees C of warming. The World Bank and European Investment Bank have recently announced their intentions to stop lending to coal projects, based on climate change concerns.

“Banks are waking up to the financial and ethical responsibility to stop funding coal. We’re asking Westpac to do the same, and stop this dirty lending,” said Ashlee Gross, 350 National Coordinator.

A website has been launched where the public can send letters to Westpac calling on them to ‘Dump Denniston.’ http://gofossilfree.org/nz/westpac

350 Aotearoa are also holding a Divestment Forum at 6pm tonight, 15th October, at the University of Auckland. A panel of expert speakers will explore the impacts and possibilities of the worldwide fossil fuel divestment movement. It will be held in Room 401, Building 401, 20 Symonds St.

ENDS

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