Saturday, July 24, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalNo New Coal Mines For A Safe Climate

No New Coal Mines For A Safe Climate

The Government needs to urgently consider how to stop new
or expanded coal mines in New Zealand to keep climate
warming to safe levels, says Forest & Bird.

Executive Kevin Hague launched a new petition
calling for no new coal mines in his speech at Forest &
Bird’s conference today.

Forest & Bird has also
joined more than a dozen New
Zealand groups in lauching a petition
calling for a ban
on any new oil and gas permits as well as no new or expanded
coal mines.

“We should all be able to agree New
Zealand needs a well-planned transition away from coal,”
says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin

“But that requires a clear signal from
Government now. The coal industry already has years of
consented mining; allowing new or expanded coal mines
through the 2020s could lock us into high-emissions
scenarios for decades to come.”

A recent
International Energy Agency report provided a worldwide
roadmap to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. This pathway
requires no new oil and gas fields and no new coal mines or
mine extensions from 2021. In New Zealand there are
currently proposals for new opencast coal mines in Southland
and on the West Coast.

“As a developed nation we
must take responsibility for our overall contribution to
keeping warming to safe levels,” says Mr Hague. In 2020
New Zealand produced more than 2.5 million tonnes of coal,
nearly half of which was exported.

“Open-cast coal
mining in Aotearoa also has a direct impact on our native
plants and animals, with a large proportion of mining
occurring in unique and ecologically rich landscapes such as
the Buller Plateau on the West Coast,” says Mr

Forest & Bird has been campaigning for more
than a decade to save this area, much of which is public
conservation land.

“The Buller Plateau is home to
many nationally endangered birds such as roroa (great
spotted kiwi), and an incredible range of other unique and
isolated animals. The area would be irreversibly damaged by
more mining, with some species likely driven to

“We shouldn’t be mining conservation
land at all, let alone for climate-damaging coal. It’s
time to start taking a nature-first climate response
seriously, and keep wetlands and forests healthy for future

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