Coal sponsorship perverse, says Professor
Three generations of Auckland Coal Action members protested outside the Auckland Town Hall tonight. We were there once again, alerting orchestra patrons to the NZSO’s connection with climate criminal, Solid Energy.
We don’t see why coal sponsorship is still allowed, when it is far more dangerous than tobacco: dangerous to our health and that of the climate we depend on for our survival.
Auckland University Professor Dr Klaus Bosselman comments, “Enjoying music thanks to Solid Energy’s coal operations is perverse and embarrassing and today unworthy of a cultural nation.” Auckland Coal Action spokesperson Alex Winter-Billington adds, “The NZSO should be fully state funded.”
According to the World Health Organization, “The effects of climate change on health will impact on most populations in the coming decades and put the lives and well-being of billions of people at increased risk.”
“If we keep burning coal, the health effects of climate change will be bigger than AIDS, than heart disease, malaria -- bigger even than cancer,” Winter-Billington says.
Burning coal releases more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than any other fossil fuel.
The air and water pollutants in coal-mining communities cause significantly higher rates of heart attack, stroke, cancer, birth defects, kidney, liver and brain damage and worsening of pulmonary diseases.
“Coal is by far the dirtiest form of energy in terms of climate and air pollution,” Winter-Billington continues, “and it’s worse for people’s health than tobacco ever was; but not just for the people using it, it impacts everyone alive and everyone who’s going to come after us: our children, our grandchildren, everyone.”
“Like tobacco companies in the past, Solid Energy is trying to make itself look like the ‘good guy’ through association with one of our national treasures. That’s not ok. They’re clearly not the ‘good guy’,” says Winter-Billington.
“Coal is today’s tobacco and we don’t tolerate tobacco sponsorship,” she concluded.