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Lignite Costs The Earth

Thursday 9th December 2010

The Coal Action Network today praised the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) for exposing the high environmental cost of Solid Energy’s plans to exploit South Island lignite reserves in her new report ‘Lignite and climate change: The high cost of low grade coal.’

“For too long, Solid Energy has used greenwash, contradictory statements and snazzy promotional videos to obscure the reality of what they are planning to do in Southland,” said Coal Action Network spokesperson Frances Mountier. “In her report, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has clearly shown how digging up and using South Island lignite would incur a prohibitively high environmental cost.”

“The reality is stark,” continued Ms Mountier. “Solid Energy has managed to lay its paws on 1.5 billion tonnes of lignite reserves. The PCE’s report states that there are over 6 billion tonnes of economically recoverable lignite deposits in Southland and Otago.[i] If Solid Energy, L&M and the other companies exploit all 6 billion tonnes, they will be responsible for releasing 8.89 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere.”[ii]

“It’s not true that New Zealand is too small to make a difference on climate change. We can let these companies go ahead with their plans, and bring the world closer to the tipping point of runaway climate change, or we can stop them in their tracks, and make a major contribution to the stability of the world’s climate.

“We need to keep the coal in the hole,” Ms Mountier concluded. “We need to send the message that the mining companies must abandon their plans to mine and burn Southland lignite.”

ENDS

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