Coal industry study

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JACK.CONROY@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

A book looking at the 21st-century history of the New Zealand coal industry and the controversy surrounding it is about to be released by a Catlins environmentalist.

Fuelling Dissension is the work of Forest & Bird member Jane Young, of Owaka.

The time-scale the book covers proved a challenge, Mrs Young said.

“If it was 20th-century history, at least there would have been an end point,” she said.

“But there are developments every day and I kept wanting to add more.”

Mrs Young said a concern of the book was the effect of coal burning on climate change, and the need to avert further emissions but it was not a cut-and-dried issue.

“I don’t want this to read as an anti-coal rant.

“I am anti-coal but I understand that it is a complicated issue and people will lose jobs when that industry goes.

“We have to figure out how to do it as painlessly as possible.”

She said one of the main conclusions of the book was that individual energy companies would have to agree to wean themselves off coal and they would need some government pressure and support.

The book also has a Clutha district relevance looking into the legacy of the Kaitangata mine disaster.

It will be launched at a Forest & Bird meeting at 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 20, at St Andrew’s Church in Balclutha.