09, Feb, 2006

Solid Energy’s hot air misses the Global Warming point

Category: ECO Inc

Solid Energy's environmental report in which it says it has delivered on its environmental goals misses perhaps the largest environmental effect of all: climate destabilising global warming - says the Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO) co-chair, Cath Wallace.

ECO challenged the recent environment report released by Solid, in which the company purports to have nearly met all of the standards it has set for itself.

"It's all very well for Solid Energy to try to pat itself on the back for delivering on its 'cumulative environmental effects' but it seems to have conveniently forgotten about the huge impact of coal on global warming," said Wallace.

"Coal is incredibly toxic, from the minute it is mined where it destroys precious habitat as it would do at the Cypress mine in the Happy Valley on the West Coast, right through to being burned. It produces more global warming gas carbon dioxide than almost any other of the fossil fuels. Coal from Solid's production in the last year alone, when burned, will produce 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (1)."

“Moreover, it is an ecological nonsense for Solid Energy to claim that it can shift ecosystems – the snails would already be living there if the habitats were appropriate.”

The warnings from scientists on global warming are getting more urgent every day but there is scant mention of the impact of coal on global warming anywhere on the Solid Energy website, let alone its environmental report.

Wallace went on to challenge Solid's claims about "cleaner coal" technologies. "There is no way of producing clean coal, and the unproven technologies being touted by the industry's PR machine have proven to be a hope not a reality: they are ineffective, unreliable, extremely expensive and continue to pollute communities across the world."

ECO fully endorses the Happy Valley Campaign's non-violent occupation of the site on the West Coast, which is now into its second week.

ECO is an umbrella group which represents 67 organisations around New Zealand with a concern for the environment. ends

contact: Cath Wallace 04-463-5713 (w); 021-891-994(cell); 04-389-1696 (h)

Notes: (1) One tonne of coal produces 2.15 tonnes of carbon dioxide. See UK Government conversion tables at page 23 Last year Solid produced 4.46 million tonnes of coal, according to its annual report. Half of this was burned in New Zealand.

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