Fonterra – join the dots to combat climate change

On Labour Day the holiday traffic on State Highway 2 got a free education from our roadside rally against the Fonterra coal mine at Mangatawhiri. This event was organised by “Auckland Coal Action” so I drove over from Thames with Jeanette Fitzsimons and other locals to support the effort. There were some fantastic banners visible to the slow moving traffic with messages such as “Coal Cooks the Climate” and “Fonterra Coal Mining is so Yesterday” and “Fonterra Can Use Wood Waste”.

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The issue is very topical as Glencoal, a subsidiary of Fonterra have received a consent to open cast mine for coal to fuel the Fonterra milk powder factories in the Waikato. During the court case, Commissioners heard the concerns of local residents about dust, noise and pollution as well as issues about coal contributing to climate change which were not considered relevant. The Greens want Fonterra to use their considerable resources to develop clean energy sources for their factories.

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A company that uses the rhetoric of sustainability needs to implement these practices rather than open a cheap and dirty coal mine. Leadership is badly needed if we are to start addressing climate change and that means no more new coal mines. In 2013 we have spent $100 million on weather damage repairs and $1 billion on drought relief, but the Government and Fonterra are refusing to join the dots. Fonterra could make a start by dropping their plan to mine Mangatawhiri.

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6 Comments Posted

  1. Roman,

    There have certainly been changes in our climate. Isotherms are moving polewards at, at least, 35 miles per decade. There is some evidence of extreme weather increasing, but it may not be 100% convincing yet. Since warming is currently being caused by increased greenhouse gases (most notably, at the moment, CO2), and that causes climate change, then CO2 is most certainly changing the weather. If you don’t believe that, that is up to you. If you’d rather not rely on beliefs, try reading scientific research on these subjects.

  2. Tony,
    “AGW climate change”
    There are no changes in our weather cycles. There is certainly NO increase in extreme weather events (Source AR5). So what weather changes?
    And if there are, how is “man” causing that since CO2 isn’t doing it.

  3. Roman,


    You’re right if you mean CO2 doesn’t cause weather. You’re wrong if you believe that AGW driven climate change doesn’t cause changes in weather. Climate is the average of weather over about 30 years. So climate change implies changing weather.

  4. By my math, the Mangatawhiri coal will generate about 45,000 cow equivalents of CO2. So about 1% of the cow population…

  5. Our biggest exporer is also one of our worst pollutors; who really benefit and who suffer from consequences? No dots connected…

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