Cindy Baxter

Cindy Baxter is a climate change activist and media strategist who has attended just about every major international climate meeting over the last 20 years. She blogs for Hot Topic. Cindy is on Twitter @cindybax

Amid NZ coal mine closures, layoffs, do we need two new mines? - Hot Topic

Mar 14, 2016

Last week was a bad week for coal mines on the West Coast. Work on the Denniston Plateau has now stopped Early in the week, Solid Energy announced 24 workers would lose their jobs from the Stockton mine, and by the end of the week, Bathurst announced that it is putting the Denniston mine on hold, laying off 12 workers – terrible news for those workers and their families. At the heart of this is the same issue that sent Solid Energy under; plummeting coking coal prices – a price that has continued to fall, and was again cited as the reason for Solid’s new layoffs. Over on the Denniston Plateau, Bathurst’s woes have stemmed, in the first instance, from the long-signalled closure of the Holcim plant in Westport, its biggest client. Bathurst has had to seek domestic buyers … Read More

Paris: winners and losers - Hot Topic

Dec 21, 2015

What can I add to the millions of words in dozens of languages that have already been written by the thousands of journalists and commentators around the Paris Agreement? We now have a globally binding agreement that really looks like it could curtail the use of a fuel that has been central to our way of life for more than 150 years. Of course, if we’d managed to actually make deep cuts in emissions 25 years ago, getting governments to limit warming to 1.5 degrees would have been an awful prospect – who would want that much warming.  When I started working on this, it might have been possible to have no warming at all. And if industrialised countries had actually made deep cuts in emissions when they said they would,  would we even be having an argument about equity?  … Read More

Will the Paris agreement side with the angels? - Hot Topic

Dec 11, 2015

One of the most beautiful things I saw on my facebook feed last week were some angels at Republique, the scene of the attacks last month.  Those same angels appeared at the entrance to the UN zone at the climate talks out at Le Bourget the other day as we walked into the centre. Today it was the Greenpeace polar bear, Aurora, roaring at everyone.  But whatever is set up to amuse us  on the way in, there’s no getting around it:  we’re heading to the pointy end of the Paris agreement, and it’s no longer really about pictures.  It’s all about words.  The text. I’ve been here a few times now: these last 48 hours at a climate talks where nobody gets any sleep, and everybody’s obsessed with the regular new rounds of the draft agreement. We’ve been waiting all day: … Read More

1.5 to stay alive: big issues for small countries as Paris climate talks get down to nitty gritty - Hot Topic

Dec 09, 2015

I’ve been in Paris for over a week now, and the speed at which everything goes past, including time, is frightening.   I think the 40,000 expected have now all arrived.  I’m getting worried the only Eiffel Tower I’ll see is the one made of red folding chairs at the end of the “Champs Elysee” at the meeting. We began last week with the Heads of State arriving and making grand statements about grandchildren, climate impacts, the importance of the issue, etc.. Arnold Schwarzenegger was here today, Richard Branson was here yesterday.  We’ve had Leo Dicaprio, Sean Penn, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle: a veritable feast of celebrity and wisdom.  Ben & Jerry’s are giving out free ice cream. There’s been major announcements on progress from climate finance, to cities taking action, and absolutely everything and anything to do with … Read More

A climate of peace in Paris? - Hot Topic

Nov 27, 2015

The World Meteorological Organisation has now confirmed that 2010-2015 have been the hottest five year period in recorded history, and 2015 is shaping up to be the hottest ever.  We’re heading into possibly the strongest El Nino ever recorded, with its full fury yet to really hit. Baton down the hatches people, it’s going to be a wild ride. And it’s not just the weather that’s heating up.   With the climate summit underway in Paris, the meeting itself is now set to break a record, as negotiations started on Sunday evening, an unprecedented move for a climate meeting. The French Government is doing its best to avoid another Copenhagen, carefully placing the 130 World Leader event at the beginning of the summit, not the end, to avoid risking the “agree to anything and call it a groundbreaking deal” situation that happened … Read More

Coal, climate change, and the NZ economy: Winners, losers, and long-term users - Hot Topic

Aug 19, 2015

Cross-posted from Coal Action Network Aotearoa As the country reeled with the news last week that Solid Energy had gone into administration with a $300m debt, another event was happening in the Pacific that puts the debate in a context that it too seldom receives in New Zealand. On Thursday, Kiribati Prime Minister Anote Tong wrote to world leaders calling for a moratorium on new coalmines. “Kiribati, as a nation faced with a very uncertain future, is calling for a global moratorium on new coal mines. lt would be one positive step towards our collective global action against climate change and it is my sincere hope that you and your people would add your positive support in this endeavour,” he wrote. “The construction of each new coal mine undermines the spirit and intent of … Read More

Federated Farmers: sticking their heads in the soil? - Hot Topic

May 12, 2015

Federated Farmers says farmers don’t need to worry about the causes of climate change, they only need to cope with the impacts. Feds President William Rolleston says they have “no position” on whether mankind is influencing global warming, and say that looking at the causes is not that helpful. No position? “We [farmers] need to […]

Vaguely liveblog from Lima - Hot Topic

Dec 14, 2014

1.23 am I blogged earlier in (my) day about where we were at. Since then, things have moved on.  1.20 a.m. and plenary’s about to start. There’s a new text out and one of the good things is that there’s much stronger stuff in there about how to measure the actions governments submit to the […]