WWF's economic solution to stop mining
New Zealanders should look beyond coal mining as a way to boost the economy as industries that create less greenhouse gases also have huge cash and employment benefits, a new study says.The World Wildlife Fund report looks at industries in Southland that potentially have a low carbon growth and which could create hundreds of jobs and inject tens of millions into the community.WWF is against a proposed lignite, or brown coal, mine being created in Southland and commissioned the report to highlight more sustainable industries which could be developed instead."We really wanted to look at what the other options are in the southern region," WWF climate change campaigner Peter Hardstaff told NZ Newswire."The 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."BERL economist Dr Ganesh Nana, who wrote the report, found that with investment the forestry, horticulture, manufacturing and engineering, and education and training sectors would boost the economy and create jobs.For example investment in forestry and wood processing could create more than 1000 jobs and add $190 million to Southland's economy over the next 15 years.However, that is only about half the $377m Solid Energy - the company looking into the feasibility of creating the lignite mine - says the mine would bring in each year.But Mr Hardstaff says this doesn't take into account the cost to New Zealand's reputation as a clean, green nation, and wider environmental costs.Solid Energy lignite conversion manager Greg Visser says the study's ideas on investment in Southland's economy didn't have to come at the expense of the lignite mine.Mr Visser says the company would take full responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions."Solid Energy will only proceed with our large-scale lignite developments if we can deliver them in ways that address environmental and social impacts."