News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Another New York Mayor goes postal on coal; era ends in Missouri; and the plight of Filipino child gold miners.

Noel Dyson

NY Mayor’s anti-coal stance

Another day, another New York Mayor railing against coal.

Previous NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg has put $US30 million into the Sierra Club cementing his role as a foe of coal. Now his successor at City Hall, Bill de Blasio has called on the city’s $160 billion public pension funds to dump their investments in coal companies and reconsider investments in other fossil fuels, Reuters reports.

De Blasio’s comments come after California law makers passed a bill requiring that state’s pension funds to sell their coal investments last month.

“New York City is a global leader when it comes to taking on climate change and reducing our environmental footprint,”Reuters quotes de Blasio saying.

“It’s time that our investments catch up – and divestment from coal is where we must start.”

Era ends

After 100 years the power plant that had been power source for Columbia Missouri has burnt its final load of coal.

It joins a growing number of small, ageing coal-fired units across the country that have gone cold in the face of tighter environmental regulations, the Columbia Missourian reports.

The third boiler at the plant will continue to burn natural gas.

Instead of coal, the paper writes, the plant will conduct trials burning waste wood, a renewable fuel.

The good news for coal is that the black fuel continues to supply the vast majority of Columbia’s electricity through contracts with larger coal plants elsewhere.

Philippines gold mines condemned

Al Jazeera carries a story on a Human Rights Watch report that says children are working in “absolutely terrifying conditions,” in Philippines gold mines.

According to the news organ, under Philippine labour laws, hazardous work, including underground mining is prohibited for anyone aged under 18.

However, it says Human Rights Watch’s report reveals the government of President Benigno Aquino “is failing to protect children” forced by poverty into small-scale gold mining.

The Philippines is the world’s 20th largest gold producer, employing 200,000 to 300,000 people in its small-scale gold mines alone, Al Jazeera reports.