Hydrogen for decarbonisation, yeah right!

25/10/2019
MBIE H2 vision p41 figure

MBIE A Vision for Hydrogen in New Zealand, Sept 2019 (Figure 15)

Here’s what we think about MBIE’s A Vision for Hydrogen in New Zealand, what’s yours?

  1. We are extremely concerned about the overarching push for hydrogen. With our climate crisis, we need urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pressure on natural resources, to pull back from exceeding planetary boundaries. We also need to build societal resilience and adaptation to crises. We do not have the time or luxury for unproven technology and ‘Think Big’ projects.
  2. Given the urgency for real climate action, development of brown, grey and blue hydrogen cannot be a genuine or effective transition pathway, because of its reliance on fossil fuels and unproven carbon capture, use and storage. It prolongs fossil fuel exploration, mining and reliance.
  3. We ask that MBIE put forward a clear position and instigate legislation to prohibit any new brown, grey and blue hydrogen development.
  4. The narratives of ‘decarbonising industrial processes’ and ‘decarbonising gas supplies’ are misleading. Like fossil fuel-derived urea, ‘green urea’ made from green hydrogen will also release nitrous oxide when applied on farms, facilitate overstocking and fuel climate-damaging industrial agriculture. Blending hydrogen into the existing gas network is full of problems and again, prolongs fossil fuel reliance and status quo.
  5. Green hydrogen is extremely energy intensive to produce and store. Consideration of its development and application must first be thoroughly assessed and compared with all other energy options. The goal of any development needs to be resource conservation, security and resilience, and social wellbeing, not economic profits. Making green hydrogen for export does not make environmental, social or economic sense.

Our full submission can be downloaded here.


Time to shut Ravensdown?

24/09/2019

Climate Justice Taranaki padlocked the gate today at the fertiliser factory Ravensdown, blocking trucks, in light of the company’s connections to many environmental and social issues, climate change being number one.

“We have been warned by the world’s leading scientists that we only have ten years before we hit the tipping point on our planet’s climate crisis, so the next year or two is the time to really push for a societal shift away from climate polluting industries.”

“We locked the gate here at Ravensdown today to highlight the fact that this company as it is, should be shut down.”

“Ravensdown fertiliser is derived from gas, a fossil fuel, and ‘Blood phosphates’ taken from Western Sahara under military occupation. When used the fertiliser emits nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas 400 times worse than carbon dioxide.”

“For decades Ravensdown’s fertilisers have propped up industrial agriculture in this country, which contributes half of all our emissions, mostly as methane which while short-lived is over 80 times worse than carbon dioxide. Together fertiliser and industrial farming are also causing massive damage to our soils and waterways, killing off native fish and kaimoana.”

“On the social front, Western Saharan communities bear the brunt of Morocco’s military invasion to steal the phosphates that are now only sold to Ballance and Ravensdown in New Zealand, since all other countries have banned it.”

“There are also reports from ex-employees about the terrible working conditions in the New Plymouth factory where safety clothing has to be discarded due to severe heat since the company refuses to use proper ventilation.”

“The working conditions on industrial NZ farms, propped up by these fertilisers, is well known with long hours and poor pay in an unsustainable industry wracked with billions of dollars of debt to send 96% of its commodity products overseas.”

“So this is a warning to Ravensdown, Ballance and the industrial farming sector that the spotlight is on them now. The world is calling for urgent change towards sustainable and regenerative farming which can convert productive pastures to a net carbon sink. If these companies don’t change, they should expect to lose their social licence and investors just like their buddies in the oil and gas sector. We need an urgent just transition that works for everyone and an end to CEOs lining their pockets with the collective wealth of our environment, workers and communities.”

“The Prime Minister just said at the UN Climate Summit that we are determined to be ‘the most sustainable food producers in the world’. To make this happen the government should pay a much stronger role in regulating the unsustainable agri-chemical industry,” said Climate Justice Taranaki member Emily Bailey.

“Unlike carbon dioxide, the short lifespan of methane emissions means cutting them back now could give us a real chance to stop this climate crisis. We urge farmers to shift to more organic and regenerative farming for local markets and encourage everyone to get to the student-led Climate Strike this Friday at 11am in Huatoki Plaza,” concluded Bailey.

DATE: 24th September 2019


Zero Carbon Bill submission by Tue 16 July

13/07/2019

This is a very important piece of legislation currently being considered in Parliament. Please take time to have your say.  Here are our key points:

  1. We support limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5o Celsius above pre-industrial levels as the aspirational goal, with setting up an overarching legislative framework for clear and ambitious New Zealand climate policies as the purpose of the Bill.
  2. The Bill should be a stand-alone and over-riding piece of legislation that governs every decision with implications on emissions and climate.
  3. The Bill must properly honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  4. The target for New Zealand to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 is too far away. It should be 2040.
  5. The targets for biogenic methane emissions by 2030 and 2050 are too weak. They need to be much more ambitious to enable rapid transition to net zero emission agriculture.
  6. Carbon offset needs to be capped, e.g. to 30% of total emissions.
  7. The 2050 target and emissions budgets must be enforceable.
  8. Climate change risk assessments and adaptation need to occur at all levels, with resources provided to regional and local authorities for effective implementation of adaptation plans.

Here’s our full submission.

Submission closed Tue 16 July.  Details on Parliament website.

 


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. Read the rest of this entry »


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: 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 »


Game-changer

04/11/2017

NZPAM Schlumberger Taranaki and NZOG Barque Clipper Whale CO2 trend combined

NZ Oil and Gas (NZOG) recently described a one-in-five chance of striking gas in the Barque field off Oamaru as a ’game-changer’. It made glowing claims on its potential economic and environmental benefits. Climate Justice Taranaki rejects these claims completely. Read the rest of this entry »