PRESS STATEMENT: Len Lye Arts Centre and the Fossil Fuel Industry

24/07/2015

Todd-Energy-Mangahewa-E-well-site-29-Dec2014 FClark and Len Lye Centre

Spokesperson for Climate Justice Taranaki Incorporated, Janice Liddle says they object strongly to the funding by Todd Energy to the Len Lye Arts Centre.

“Todd Energy NZ as part of the Todd Oil Corporation, together with its joint venture partners has built an extensive fortune through the exploitation of gas and oil reserves both on and off-shore within the Taranaki region.

The sponsorship with naming rights represents yet another case of the fossil fuel industry using their dirty money to buy social license/acceptance within our communities. It’s a pity that the sponsorship has come from such a destructive, unsustainable industry,” says Liddle.

The industry, driven by profit, shows little regard to their impact on local residents and the environment and no regard on climate change. The process of seismic survey, drilling, fracking, flaring of toxic gases and discharge of contaminated waste, pollute our land, air, waterways and oceans. The dumping of unwanted drilling waste on agricultural land through landfarming threatens food safety and market opportunities.

“With the construction of such an eye-catching building it also seems no regard has been given to the use of renewable energy such as solar power. As the Todd Corporation is now a supplier of gas and electricity through their Nova Energy company, one must query how far their involvement extends,” Liddle concludes.


Low-skilled fracking jobs, divestment, climate debt and neoliberalism

20/07/2015

As the oil and gas fracking industry spreads across a nation, increasingly high school teens are being lured to drop out and take up low-skilled jobs, as demonstrated in a recent research in the US.  The authors of the study warned, “fracking raises the risk that some workers at the bottom of the skills and education ladder may end up being stuck there, because they made bad schooling choices in a rush to be part of the industry“.

Could this be happening in Taranaki – the heartland of the fossil fuel industry in New Zealand? Do we want to sacrifice our youth’s future to such short-term gains and in full knowledge of the social and environmental damages of this industry, volatile oil prices and growing divestment movements?

I wasn’t expecting to be swept up in the biggest divestment movement in history – but the snowball is unstoppable,” said Dan Goss, a campaigner from the University of Warwick. See Fossil Free UK’s a divestment campaign guide. Join 350.org divestment campaigns starting with your own banks and super funds. As divestment takes hold, community reinvestment in local economy, notably community energy, has begun. Be part of it!

For there is a real ethical issue here with further continuing fossil fuel extraction. Developing nations, such as the Polynesian countries, are at risk of losing their territories, their populations, livelihoods and security, because of extreme weather and sea level rise caused by climate change. Many have coined the term – Climate Debt – as developed nations that have benefited economically over the last 200 years by taking the “get rich first, fix the environment later” approach owe  developed nations hugely, for exacerbating climate change and robbing them of opportunities. Read Naomi Klein’s book “This Changes Everything” for more eloquent explanations.

The failure to recognize natural limits and the obsession to growth, driven by neoliberalism, have a lot to answer for our current environmental problems and social injustice. Listen to NZ law professor Jane Kelsey’s interview, offering in-depth analyses of the FIRE economy and positive alternatives.


“Green the wells” – oxymoron or more industry spin?

27/06/2015

How can drilling wells and fracking for oil and gas possibly be made “green”?

The industry says, by using more efficient technologies “to make sure that wells are used to their full potential”, “to look after the rocks at the nano level” and “if you must frack, do it with a non-damaging fluid“. Read the rest of this entry »


Pope Francis’ Encyclical: Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home

27/06/2015

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

The release by Pope Francis of his recent encyclical Laudato Si – On Care for our Common Home (1) has drawn some controversy with suggestions he clean-up his own house before attempting to save the planet.

In keeping with environmental statements issued from other leading church figures such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Patriarch Bartholemew (2) and the Dalai Lama (3) personal issues on religion and doctrine should be set aside and this document must be viewed as a strong message from an important world figure which sends a challenge to such others in the lead to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year. Read the rest of this entry »


Media release: No STOS Maui Appeal but CJT mission lives on

24/06/2015

Climate Justice Taranaki (CJT) will not file an appeal on the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)’s decision to grant Shell Todd Oil Services a 35 year consent to expand its operations at the Maui gas field.

This is in no way an endorsement of EPA’s decision. Legal opinion we have received indicates that there are arguments on which we could appeal on a point of law.

During the submission and hearing processes, we articulated strongly to the Decision Making Committee the extensive scientific, logical and ethical grounds on which to substantially limit the consent duration, to require a bond and indemnity insurance and to develop a decommissioning plan. None of these were included. How can the Ministry of Environment possibly claim that EPA is being too precautionary?” asked Catherine Cheung, Climate Justice Taranaki.

As the recent performance reviews on EPA pointed out, a large number of staff don’t know what the organisation’s mission is. Many also believe that EPA exists to support applicants, ministers or decision making committees, not the public which it is ultimately accountable to.

No wonder the current political climate and ‘justice’ system are so hostile to us and others who want change for public good,” said Cheung.

Given the high costs and how weak and disjointed current environmental laws are, we decided not to appeal, but to regroup, gather forces and continue our work. Our mission is to change the system to one that speaks truth to power, recognizes the limits of our planet, and empowers communities to become sustainable and resilient to the impacts of climate change,” concluded Emily Bailey, Climate Justice Taranaki.

Sources:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201759678/scathing-reports-of-the-epa

http://www.mfe.govt.nz/node/20752/


STOS drilling permit reckless

05/06/2015

“It is aFeatured image real disappointment that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decided to grant Shell-Todd Oil Services (STOS) the full 35 years consent for more drilling, extraction, dumping and other damaging activities at the Maui gas field off the Taranaki coast” says Emily Bailey, member of Climate Justice Taranaki. “To allow more drilling from the aging wells – many of which have already passed their ‘best before’ dates – is reckless. Despite our detailed submission, the EPA did not insist on a bond that would ensure that wells are maintained, suspended and abandoned in a safe manner. There is also no condition requiring a decommissioning plan or liability insurance should something go seriously wrong.” Read the rest of this entry »


Have your say on NZ’s Climate Change Target

28/05/2015

climate-change-consultation-document cover

You have until tomorrow 5pm, 3 June, to tell the government what you want NZ to contribute to the global efforts in reducing  greenhouse gas emissions. This contribution will be tabled at the UN climate change conference in December, and be part of the international negotiations and agreements on emission reduction targets from 2020.

Climate Justice Taranaki suggests the following points for your submission:
1. The discussion document is biased – in favour of current government economic policies. The document ignores the known costs of not acting now on climate change and the substantial financial incentives given to the fossil fuel industry, while exaggerating the costs on household consumption under meagre reduction targets.
2. New Zealand (NZ) is fully capable of reaching at least a 40% reduction target by 2030, within its environmental, technological and socio-economic parameters. We ask for this to be NZ’s contribution – a commitment based on science and ethical grounds.
3. This target or contribution must be supported by concrete policies and actions.
4. One of the key policies must be to stop granting new petroleum exploration and mining permits, ban fracking, and start incentivising sustainable and renewable energy investments and initiatives.
5. The discussion document offers no vision and no alternatives to unsustainable agriculture. Its claim of NZ being “a highly efficient producer” is unfounded, failing to consider the environmental impacts and associated economic costs it is causing. The over-emphases on technological fix (e.g. anti-methane vaccines) and international carbon offsets are NOT solutions to the social and environmental impacts of unsustainable practices.
6. NZ urgently needs a concrete policy on sustainable agriculture and forestry (with financial incentives) that will achieve a clear emission reduction target, increase carbon sink, break the dependence on fossil fuels (including natural gas derived urea and nitrogen inhibitors), heal the soil, clean the waterways and benefit small family farmers.
7. NZ urgently needs a comprehensive policy on sustainable transport, consisting largely of electric public transport, sea, rail and road freight powered by responsible biofuels (eg. waste wood), with clear contribution to emission reduction and energy independence.
8. NZ urgently needs a complete rewrite of its Energy Strategy (2011-2021), ditching the reliance on infinite growth and fossil fuels, and committing NZ to 100% renewable electricity by 2025 and carbon neutral by 2050.

Write your own submission incorporating the above points and email to MFE at climate.contribution@mfe.govt.nz with your full name and contact details. Alternatively use the form prepared by Greenpeace, Generation Zero or MFE.

The more of us voice our concerns and demand, the stronger we will be. Speak out for climate justice, for the sake of our future generations and others that share our planet!

Download CJT’s submission with a full list of references.


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