Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Climate Change: Undermining themselves

The government is promising tough action against climate change via the Zero Carbon Bill and a strengthened ETS. Meanwhile, the Overseas investment Office is granting foreign coal companies permission to expand coal mining:

Coal Action Network Aotearoa has slammed a decision by the Overseas Investment Office to allow Bathurst Coal to buy Canterbury farmland to mine coal for dairy factories.


Bathurst, majority owned by Singaporeans, already owns a coal mine at neighbouring Coalgate. The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has granted it permission to buy 31.5 hectares of grazing land for $680,000, two kilometres away from its existing mine.

The ASX-listed company intends to install mining infrastructure on the land and eventually hopes to mine the land should resource consent be granted. This will extend the life of the mine from 2022 to 2035.

If the mine is expanded, then the coal will be dug up and burned in coal-powered dairy factories, directly increasing emissions (and delaying the point at which Fonterra has to clean up its act). Its a perfect example of the government working at cross-purposes with itself: one part trying to decrease emissions, while another is thoughtlessly (or, in MBIE's case, deliberately) trying to increase them. And its a perfect example of why s5ZK of the Zero Carbon Bill, which allows agencies to consider climate change targets in their decisions, needs to be amended so that they must. Otherwise government policy to reduce emissions is simply going to be undermined by its own agencies. And its also a prime example of why we need to kill coal, with an exploration, mining and resource consent ban to cut of emissions at their source.