Press release: Taranaki Hydrogen roadmap smoke and mirrors

18/03/2019

NYTimes What is climate change cartoon 2015

Climate Justice Taranaki questions the environmental and economic arguments for the Taranaki Hydrogen Roadmap released on Friday.

“The roadmap is full of fanciful ideas and technologies that are unproven and still at the experimental or development stages. They are fine if we have lots of time, but we are in a climate emergency. With just 12 years left to turn things around, we need to act fast by upscaling proven renewable energy technologies, and investing in energy conservation and resilience,” said Catherine Cheung, spokesperson for Climate Justice Taranaki.

“We agree that there may be a niche role for green hydrogen – hydrogen produced by water electrolysis with renewable energy – in fueling long-haul, heavy transport to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from this sector. But the heavy emphasis given to the production of ammonia, urea and methanol, whether using green or blue hydrogen, is a worry,” said Cheung.

Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas and requires carbon capture and storage (CCS). According to the Global CCS Institute, there are only 18 commercially operating CCS facilities in the world. Many of these inject the captured carbon dioxide underground to force out more oil from old oil fields, gaining carbon credit while continuing to mine fossil fuels. Locally in Taranaki, there have been documented problems in deepwell injection operations including well leakage.

Carbon capture and storage is only meaningful if longterm, secure storage can be guaranteed. But who would monitor and make sure that the gases do stay in the ground? Who would be liable if there is a leakage, posing harm to humans and the environment, after companies have left?” asked Cheung.

In the roadmap, ‘green’ urea and methanol are supposedly green because they do not rely on fossil fuels in their manufacturing. But when urea is spread on land, nitrous oxide is released into the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is 268 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

Pouakai NZ, a subsidiary of 8 Rivers, aims to produce 2 million tonnes of urea a year from its proposed gas-fed power plant and hydrogen production facility at Port Taranaki.

“If the 8 Rivers project goes ahead, it would drive further gas exploration and industrial agriculture. The last thing we want is more industrial farming which disrupts our climate and degrades our waterways and soil. There really is no such thing as green urea,” said Cheung.

What about green methanol?  The roadmap describes plastics made from methanol to be derived from captured carbon dioxide and renewable hydrogen as ‘carbon negative’.

“But do we want yet more plastics to clog up our oceans and poison our ecosystems?” asked Cheung.

The roadmap also touts the possibility of exporting green hydrogen as a ‘renewable energy to meet global demand’.  Wouldn’t that compete with the domestic demand for renewable energy that we need ourselves to transition to zero carbon, and drive electricity price up?

“Why are we investing so much on a roadmap that does little to address our energy security and transport emissions, and potentially increases agricultural emissions?  It appears to be more smoke and mirrors trying to keep the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries afloat despite our climate crisis,” concluded Cheung.

Cartoon source: James Yang for the New York Times, 2015

Media coverage:

H2 roadmap smoke and mirrors in climate emergency (Waatea News, 18/3/2019)

Taranaki Hydrogen Roadmap: Good or Bad News? (95bFM, 18/3/2019)

Sizable hydrogen fleet needed to ensure refueling and distribution network economical (Stuff, 20/3/2019)

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MEDIA RELEASE: Climate defence protest against oil drillers – New Plymouth

19/02/2019

On Wednesday 20th February members of Climate Justice Taranaki will be restarting ongoing protests at the headquarters of climate polluters in Taranaki. This week, the group is going to Todd Energy and OMV from 12pm, at 32-38 Molesworth St, New Plymouth to demonstrate continued opposition to oil and gas drilling.

We are currently witnessing an unprecedented global youth movement in defence of the climate. Students from across the world are going on strike and taking inspiring actions to demand urgent system change. If we want to have any chance of a stable climate for future generations, we have to stop extracting fossil fuels now” says Urs Signer, spokesperson for Climate Justice Taranaki.

Despite the government’s law change to ban new offshore petroleum permits, existing permit holders continue to drill on- and offshore, and new permits may be issued onshore in Taranaki. We are currently finding ourselves in the sixth mass extinction event with current rates of extinction of species estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural background rates.”

What we need is an urgent and just transition away from fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and a greedy economic system that is based on destroying the environment, communities and people’s livelihoods for the benefits of the one percent. Our message to the companies and the rich and powerful is this: your time is up. We can now choose between extinction or rebellion – and the striking students across the globe are telling us – it’s time to rebel in defence of our climate” concludes Urs Signer.

Media coverage:

Taranaki leaders determined to help region grow despite oil industry woes (TDN, 21Feb19)


Media release: Just Transition plan not just or workable

11/02/2019

rule_one.jpgClimate Justice Taranaki is skeptical of public workshops beginning this week on a ‘Taranaki 2050 Roadmap’. The workshops continue the Tapuae Roa strategy and action plan recently written by the Ministry for Business Inovation and Enterprise (MBIE), the four councils and business heads with only some iwi input.

“The idea of this just transition plan sounds great but in reality it’s the same old profit-driven, environmentally and socially destructive global capitalist model. This is the exact model that in only a few generations brought us to the crisis we now face. What’s more, the community is only getting a say once they already agreed on the core of the plan and the workshops are being held during work hours when most people can’t participate. It’s unworkable and unjust.” says spokesperson Emily Bailey for Climate Justice Taranaki.

“The problem with the plan is the focus remains on growing the economy and increasing international shipping and tourism. There is still a complete lack of understanding that economic growth typically comes from social and environmental degradation. It is highly unlikely alternatives to the huge energy-guzzling ships and numerous planes we now use will come online by 2050. Importing and exporting goods is also incredibly wasteful and shifts profit from the poor producers to the rich traders. Remaining reliant on this market model leads us blindly to a collapse of global dairy markets and international tourism – this country’s two largest earners.”

“Our current gas fields are quickly running out and we less than 12 years left to turn the tide on climate change. More efficient use of gas such as the new H2 project is just too little too late and still too polluting given the massive CO2 emissions when burnt, fugitive methane emissions from numerous leaks and nitrous oxide emissions from the urea fertiliser they want to make – not to mention the burping cows. When you calculate methane not in a 100 year cycle but in a 20 year cycle like we do for CO2, it is actually 84 times worse than CO2. Nitrous oxide is 300 times worse.”

“Millions of public money should not have been given to “high risk” energy development projects for big business. It should be supporting thousands of small-scale, diverse and sustainable local projects run by communities who know what needs to be done. Just transition economies exist but the government has chosen to put our country’s future in the hands of those who created the mess we are in: profiteers.”

“We have to face the fact that a just transition involves much more than phasing out fossil fuels. A just transition must address the fact that all natural resources and ecosystems are on the brink of collapse due to our modern take, use and trash lifestyles. We need to shift our economic focus to the local community level. We need to rehabilitate native ecosystems such as fisheries and decentralise and connect communities with diverse farms and workshops that provide food and other products for locals. This is just transition. Our current trajectory is extinction and the only alternative is rebellion to the status quo.” concludes Bailey.

As Naomi Klein said “the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and would benefit the vast majority — are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.”

Cartoon source: https://www.theselc.org/building_just_transition_with_a_pcec

Media coverage:

Phony transition claim as Taranaki looks to the future (Waatea News, 14/02/2019)

Taranaki transition: ‘There will be new forms of energy’ (RNZ, 15/02/2019)

Taranaki plots course to low emissions economy (RNZ, 15/02/2019)


Press release: Mt Messenger Bypass shameful disaster

11/12/2018

Climate Justice Taranaki are extremely disappointed at Commissioner Daysh’s decision to approve the Mt Messenger Bypass.

Mt_Messenger_tunnel

“To smash yet another pointless road through a wild valley with threatened endemic species is insane. We are in the middle of a climate emergency and a mass species extinction yet the crown’s NZTA dinosaur organisation still cannot see the writing on the wall. Wrecking forest, wetland and awa to save a dying trucking industry a few dollars and four minutes travel time is reckless, especially when funded by public money.

No mitigation will ever cover what has been destined for destruction and this country should be ashamed of yet another ‘clean, green’ fallacy.” said spokesperson Emily Bailey.

The group are considering appealing the decision in a hope to stop any future roads like this ever being approved in the country. Direct action is also being discussed.

We call on Ministers Phil Twyford and Julie Anne Genter to do what they can to prevent future disasters like this from being made. Repairing Aotearoa’s main trunk line for freight and passengers, expanding public transport, developing electric vehicle infrastructure and extending cycle lanes and walkways are the ways to go, not this backwards diesel disaster.” said Bailey.


Press release: Sustainable hydrogen or oxymoron?

21/11/2018

Yesterday, 150 scientists and researchers made this stark warning: A disastrous future for humanity if we continue our current path of “rampant consumerism and endless economic growth”. In an open letter, they demand that the government “meets its duty to protect its citizens from harm and to secure the future for generations to come.”

So on the same day when Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones spoke of a potential, “monumental” one billion dollar project that would “create hydrogen and create an output of urea” it leaves you wondering what exactly the government thinks cutting emissions by half really means.

“There’s a saying: ‘rolling a turd in glitter’ and that’s exactly what Shane Jones is offering” says Climate Justice Taranaki spokesperson Emily Bailey. “This second round of unsustainable Think Big technology is not proven and even if it was it will be ridiculously expensive and still require fracked gas that is estimated to run out in ten years time. Who in their right mind would invest in such a project?”.

The project has been touted by the US based 8 Rivers Capital LLC. According to their website, the company has developed technology to generate power from fossil fuels, apparently without air emissions, the only by-products being ‘water’ and “pipeline-ready” or “carbon capture-ready” carbon dioxide.

“Based on our research, carbon capture and storage (CCS) has not been effective or economically viable anywhere, despite decades of talks and trials. One project in the US captures about one tenth of the CO2 emitted from a coal-fired power station and pipes it 80 miles to an oil field to be injected into old wells to produce more oil. The term ‘clean coal’ is simply oxymoron – how can one say CCS is clean or sustainable when it fuels yet more fossil fuel mining?”

“To use the waste to produce more urea for industrial farming is also ludicrous given it is one of the planet’s worst greenhouse gas emitting chemicals and a serious soil and waterway pollutant. It’d be a monumentally disastrous project, one that would take us to a disastrous future – climate breakdown. We do not accept ‘blue hydrogen’ made from fossil fuels involving carbon capture and storage as clean either – it is yet another oxymoron.”

“Never before have our prominent scientists united and spoke against consumerism and economic growth so loudly, we have got to listen and ask ourselves what sort of a future we want? Taranaki was much better off before big oil and gas brought centralised milk production stations, synthetic fertiliser and trucks, ships, mechanisation and megadebts to farming. The younger generations are already firing ahead with community-scale regenerative and urban farming projects that offer far better quality of life for workers and massively reduce emissions, waste and pollution. Alongside renewable energy and energy efficient infrastructure this just makes sense.”

“There is a huge push from society for real solutions, just look at the massive protests in London this week and the numerous petitions pushing for going plastic-free and banning urea, deep-sea oil and fracking. More of the same gives us more of the same. It’s time to focus on existing, proven sustainable projects rather than expensive, massively flawed pies in the sky” said Emily Bailey of Climate Justice Taranaki.

Cartoon: https://www.chemistryworld.com/opinion/the-carbon-capture-challenge/9069.article

Media coverage: Environmentalist critical of Taranaki’s proposed $1b hydrogen project, TDN 23/11/2018


Press release: EPA denies Climate Justice Official Information Request

07/11/2018

Tamarind Umuroa Tui field Energyglobalnews

Climate Justice Taranaki has been denied information regarding legal advice sought by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The advice concerned processing of OMV’s consent applications for its oil drilling programme in the Taranaki Basin.

“At the EPA hearing on OMV’s marine discharge consent application in September, we argued that the application should be jointly processed with all other applications associated with the drilling programme. We asked that legal advice be sought on this matter. Subsequent to the granting of the consent on the 4th October, we wrote to EPA, requesting clarifications and documents relating to any legal advice that EPA might have received. A month later, EPA replied, confirming that there had been legal advice but the relevant documents would be withheld ‘in order to maintain legal professional privilege’. We feel this is not natural justice,” said Catherine Cheung, Researcher of Climate Justice Taranaki.

Tomorrow we will be holding a protest at the Quality Hotel Plymouth International where EPA will hear Tamarind Taranaki Limited’s drilling and discharge consent applications. While Tamarind’s proposed activities are publicly notified, OMV’s application to drill 12 new exploratory/appraisal wells across six licensed areas in the Taranaki Basin is non-notified. According to the Crown Minerals Act, if OMV finds any viable oil and gas, mining licenses spanning decades will be granted. All this is allowed to happen behind closed doors. What about transparency and democracy?” asked Cheung.

“A vast majority of the 6539 submitters on the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill supports the Bill and wants it strengthened, by putting an end to all new and existing oil and gas exploration and mining, on and offshore. The overriding message is loud and clear: Real action to cut greenhouse gas emissions is long overdue.  Time is running out.  We cannot say that climate change is our nuclear free moment while allowing companies to extract more fossil fuels. Climate inaction is not only costly, but constitutes moral negligence,” added Cheung.

“The legislation is full of loop-holes and biased in favour of the industry.  The EEZ Act explicitly excludes consideration of emissions on climate change.  This is crazy, at a time when climate disruptions are threatening our very existence.  We challenge the EPA over its petroleum consenting process which appears to be little more than a tick box exercise,” said Emily Bailey, Spokesperson of Climate Justice Taranaki.

“Fossil fuel companies have no social license to operate here or anywhere.  They are recalcitrant climate polluters, wrecking our life support system.  They cause havoc in rural farming communities, drive social inequality and damage our local environments. They even fuel conflicts and wars.  We want them gone,” concluded Bailey.­

Photo source: Global Energy News

Download slides presented by Dr L DeVantier and CJT at the EPA Tamarind hearing.

Media:

Activists oppose Tui oil field expansion with toasts and song, ShareChat, 8/11/18

Proposed development would extend life of Tui oil field operator, RNZ, 6/11/18


Press release: Petroleum companies under pressure

08/10/2018

protest-outside-todd-2oct18-kc.jpg

The pressure is building against oil, gas and coal companies in Aotearoa who continue to push for fossil fuel extraction with increasing community calls to curb climate change. Protesters will be gathering outside Todd Energy, Beach Energy and OMV tomorrow Tuesday 9 October. Read the rest of this entry »