Coal Activist Actions Lead to an Increase in Global Emissions
Activists blocking the Rotowaro coal mine near Huntly need a reality check, says Straterra, New Zealand’s minerals sector industry organisation.
“These actions are illegal, threaten jobs and, if taken to the conclusion they aim for, would lead to an increase in global carbon dioxide emissions and a poorer New Zealand,” said Straterra CEO Chris Baker.
“Coal from Rotowaro is used as a back-up for Huntly Power Station to provide security of electricity supply, as well as energy for food processing and industry, including steel manufacture. During the Covid-19 lockdown this coal was part of the supply chain for essential services. Businesses can use Rotowaro coal or they can import coal, and sometimes they do.
“New Zealand consumes around 2.7 million tonnes of coal per year, of which up to 1 million tonnes a year is imported. That seems like a large number; however, coal contributes only 4% of our country’s carbon dioxide emissions.
“Every tonne of coal produced at Rotowaro has a buyer before it comes out of the ground.
“The climate change issue is a demand side issue; it is people, including protesters, who want the benefits of fossil fuels and it is this demand which creates emissions.
“If these activists were to have their way, New Zealand would export activities and jobs to other countries where the same goods would be produced with more emissions. This hardly benefits New Zealand or the world.
“We want solutions for how New Zealand can reduce emissions and remain prosperous – the solution is people and the planet, not just the planet as the protestors seem to think.
“The New Zealand Minerals Forum which was to go ahead in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa this week was cancelled because it was felt that delegates would be unsafe and unable to attend a conference aimed at sharing good and best practice across resource discovery and development, research, environmental management, workplace health and safety, and engagement with communities and iwi.
“Protests are an essential part of democracy; stopping legitimate business activity is not. I presume these activists see coal, in New Zealand, as an easy target. That does them no credit,” Mr Baker concluded.