Saturday, November 27

Call to ban the use of industrial coal in Nelson


A climate action group is petitioning the Nelson City Council to end the use of industrial coal in the region.

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Stop the Coal Monster group spokesman Aaron Stallard said he does not want new consents to be issued for the use of coal, with existing consents ending in 2025.

The group was formed in March, and on Thursday Stallard and Joost van Rens submitted a petition of more than 500 signatures to the Nelson City Council calling for an end to the industrial use of coal in the region.

Dr. Stallard, who is a geologist, said that the use of coal was the leading cause of climate change and one of the leading causes of death globally.

“Coal is the worst of the worst fossil fuels and there is no need for a social license to use coal. It should be viewed unfavorably as the terrible polluting and devastating that it is.”

There are two industrial coal users in the region: Nelson Hospital and McCashin Brewery, and the group had entered into discussions with them. They both had some plans to get rid of coal, but ultimately needed support to do so.

“The questions are funding, timing, and how committed they are to that process,” Stallard said.

“Both users want to get away from coal, so if we can get enough people on board and organizations like the council to support those two users, hopefully we can make Nelson carbon-free.”

With world leaders currently meeting at COP26 to address the climate crisis, Stallard said Nelson also had an opportunity to take a position.

He said the council had been “a bit inconsistent” when it came to acting on its aspiring goals, but going carbon-free could be an “easy win.”

“The energy for this and the intent is global, so it should be a priority.”

Since then, New Zealand has joined two international commitments to phase out coal announced at the UN COP26 climate summit.

In the presentation to the council, Dr. Joost van Rens, a general practitioner, discussed the research in The Lancet A medical journal that found that air pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil was responsible for one in 10 deaths globally in 2018.

He said that climate change was the greatest threat to global health facing the world in the 21st century.

Nelson Hospital Sign

Nelson Hospital
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The group had also been in contact with the Tasmania District Council, which has a higher rate of industrial coal consumption.

Environment and Climate Committee Chair Kate Fulton said that while she supported both organizations moving away from using coal, the Huntly Power Station still burned coal to provide electricity to Nelson, which would prevent the city from truly being free. of coal.

Last year Nelson Marlborough Health received $ 5 million to replace the “dirty old coal furnaces” at Blenheim’s Wairau Hospital with green alternatives.

In 2019, GP Dr. Ngaire Warner asked the board of health to end the use of charcoal at Nelson Hospital, citing health and environmental concerns.

The board of health promised to test wood pellets instead of charcoal at Nelson Hospital and installed a new burner in its gas boiler to reduce carbon emissions.


www.rnz.co.nz

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