Coal to send Christchurch under waves

November 3, 2006

PRESS RELEASE

Save Happy Valley Christchurch

November 3rd 2006

Save Happy Valley are holding a beach party outside state-owned coal miner Solid Energy’s headquarters, to highlight the new coastline that coal companies may commit the world to by the end of the century. The event starts at 3:45pm today at 2 Show Place, Christchurch.

“Coal produces more carbon dioxide per energy produced than any of the other fossil fuels. Burning it will lead to dangerous climate change. Even the Economist magazine has labelled the burning of coal as environmental enemy number one,” said Save Happy Valley spokesperson Frances Mountier.

“The New Zealand Government has said they’re taking climate change seriously – so they cannot continue supporting a company that is digging coal up faster and faster. This is a company that has plans to create diesel from coal – a process that emits twice as much carbon dioxide as regular petroleum use.

“A recent report found that even moderate targets – for carbon dioxide stabilisation – could still trigger a collapse of the Greenland Ice Cap by the end of the century. It could take three thousand years to melt completely, but the fastest melting would be early on; once that started, there would be no turning back,” said Ms Mountier.

Save Happy Valley has produced a map of what Christchurch would look like under eight metres of water – 7.2m from Greenland, and an additional .8m through thermal expansion and the melting of small glaciers.

“This would bring climate change and sea level rise to Solid Energy’s doorstep, but up to a billion people would be affected first, in low lying cities around the world,” said Ms Mountier.

ENDS

Attached:

Map showing Christchurch after an 8m rise in sea level.

Notes:

1. Pages 14-17 of http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/LawReviewCatastrophe.pdf show that dangerous climate change is not possible without coal.

2. Solid Energy’s current production is 4.67 million tonnes of coal per year – greater than the C02 equivalent of all the cars, trucks and buses on New Zealand roads.

3. Once a threshold of 2.7C warming has occurred over Greenland, which is likely to occur this century, the ice sheet will begin to collapse (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/adcc/BookCh4Jan2006.pdf )

4. Saturday November 4th is the International Day of Action On Climate Change, beginning a week of action to coincide with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Nairobi from 6-17 November. For more information visit http://www.climatedefence.org.nz

5. The Save Happy Valley Coalition is a collection of groups (including the Christchurch group) and individuals from around Aotearoa committed to stopping Solid Energy’s proposed ope cast coal mine in Happy Valley (Upper Waimangaroa Valley) on the West Coast. They work to raise awareness on climate change in New Zealand. They are also deeply concerned about the fate of all endangered species under threat from Solid Energy – such as the Powelliphanta snail at the nearby Mt Augustus. The Coalition is made up of West Coast locals, students, workers and the general public. The group has a track record of creative protests, occupations and lock-ons as well as producing a variety of informative media. More information about the coalition and its history can be found at http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/aboutus.htm


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