New economic report set to ignite debate around lignite alternatives

Posted on
28 August 2012
(Invercargill, New Zealand) Hundreds of new jobs and tens of millions of dollars could be generated for the people of Southland without developing the polluting coal industry, a new economic report by BERL has found.
The WWF-New Zealand commissioned report A View to the South: Potential Low Carbon Growth Opportunities for the Southern Region Economy is being launched today in Invercargill at a reception for business leaders, small business owners, councillors, politicians, residents and local environmental groups. 
Proposals to mine and process lignite coal in the Southern region could add up to 10 per cent a year to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions (1). Concerned these proposals could set back national efforts to reduce our emissions, the global conservation organisation asked BERL to investigate the potential for lower carbon forms of economic development in the region.
Report author and chief economist Dr Ganesh Nana, speaking at the report’s launch, said:
“The Southern region has a wide range of economic development options available. The four different scenarios BERL modelled – forestry, horticulture, manufacturing and engineering, and education and training – build on the region’s known competitive advantages and land-based economy, and have the potential to be low carbon.
“What we found was that with greater investment, all four sectors present opportunities for greater employment and GDP beyond the business as usual outcome. 
“Greater investment in forestry and wood processing, for example, could create 1,180 full-time jobs within the next 15 years, over and above business as usual growth. It could add $190 million of GDP to the Southern region economy.”
BERL’s economic modelling also shows that by 2026, an additional 820 jobs in engineering, 755 in education and training, and 540 jobs in the horticulture sector could be created. This could generate $115 million, $91 million and $67 million respectively, above business as usual growth.
WWF-New Zealand’s Climate Change campaigner, Peter Hardstaff, said: 
“In Southland, like in all regions of New Zealand – and all over the world - people are facing challenging choices about ensuring social, economic and environmental wellbeing. How can we improve our quality of life while responding to the global imperative to keep global warming below dangerous levels? 
“BERL’s report shows that forgoing the exploitation of fossil fuels does not mean forgoing all jobs and having no livelihoods – it just means doing things differently. There are a range of options to pursue in the Southern region which could create more jobs and more money for people in the region, in potentially low carbon industries.
“WWF hopes this research will inform debate and aid decision-making on the future economic development choices available to the Southern region. We strongly encourage central and local government to promote policies that favour a clean and healthy economic future for the people of the region, and the whole of New Zealand.”
Notes to editors
(1) Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Nov 2010 report. 
Download the report and summary from the top right of this page.
For further information, or to arrange interviews with Dr Ganesh Nana or Peter Hardstaff, contact:
Rosa Argent, WWF-New Zealand, 04 471 4292,
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources


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