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

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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