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Carbon-friendly economy the way forward for Southland

Wednesday 29 August 2012 – Wellington

Forest & Bird press release for immediate use

Carbon-friendly economy the way forward for Southland


Forest & Bird welcomes the release of the WWF-New Zealand commissioned report yesterday that clearly shows the economic advantages of investing in Southland’s greener industries.

With mining companies currently eyeing up the region’s 3.5 billion tonnes of accessible lignite, the report shows the key to improving Southland’s economy lies in four low-carbon industries.

“This is evidence that Southland can have a bright future without digging up dirty lignite or drilling for fossil fuels,” Forest & Bird Otago/Southland Field Officer Sue Maturin says.

“It shows that there are other more carbon-friendly investments that will lead to plenty of new jobs in the future if the investment is directed towards high-end processing of our primary products rather than digging up dirty coal.”

Sue Maturin says the findings should encourage decision-makers and investors away from energy-intensive fossil fuel extraction, which contributes to climate change, and towards developing clean energy industries.

Southland is predicted to have around 3.5 billion tonnes of lignite accessible to mining, which according to WWF would release over 5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when burnt.

Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin says this type of analysis should be undertaken in all regions that face the possibility of extracting fossil fuels as their primary source of income. “It’s an issue communities will have to face in the future and they should prepare for it now,” she says.

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