Press release: Petroleum companies under pressure

08/10/2018

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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.

The proposed amendments of the Crown Minerals Act, while banning new offshore exploratory permits, allows existing permit holders to keep drilling, and for new exploratory permits to be issued onshore in Taranaki. The amendments also take away protection of conservation lands, such as the national park, by allowing companies to conduct so-called ‘minimum impact activities’ within them.

Climate scientists are warning us today that it will take ‘far more aggressive’ efforts to limit warming to just 1.5 degrees and alleviate catastrophic impacts. Yet government policies continue to encourage resource exploitation and ignore the root cause of our climate crisis – economic growth from exploitation of the environment and people. It is up to everyone to turn this around and pressure decision makers and companies to get out of extractive industries,” said Emily Bailey of Climate Justice Taranaki.

Community pressure is rising across the country, with actions by Greenpeace, Oil Free Wellington, Oil Free Otago, other community groups and the Global Frack Down this month. Climate Justice Taranaki is holding weekly protests in New Plymouth, targeting the various oil companies operating here such as OMV, AWE, Beach Energy, Tamarind Resources, Tag Oil, Todd Energy and Greymouth Petroleum.

The message is clear: destroying our future for profit is completely unacceptable. Investors need to pull out of this criminal industry based on exploitation and pollution and give their money to regenerative agriculture, native forest plantings and community projects. These greedy companies have been warring over resources and destroying natural habitats for far too long. Their profit is our exploitation and we will not stand for it.” said Bailey.

Just transition must be genuine. Investing tens of millions of dollars now in hydrogen research and locking in multi-decadal assets for it, is not ‘just transition’ if natural gas is used as the feed-stock and power source. The claim for clean hydrogen is true only when water is used as feed-stock and renewable energies power the process. Sadly, this is unlikely to be the case in Taranaki, as it is not globally. PEPANZ’s statement earlier welcomed hydrogen development and referred to carbon capture and storage. These are unproven technologies that do nothing but prolong the fossil fuel industry.” said Catherine Cheung of Climate Justice Taranaki.

Beware of ‘false solutions’ that waste precious time and resources. What we need now are climate actions that constitute true solutions. The focus must be on substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fostering social equity and building community resilience while every aspect of society weans themselves off fossil fuel reliance,” concluded Cheung.

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Fossil fuel economics – a fairy tale

17/04/2015

It is encouraging to hear the World Bank calling for a halt to fossil fuel subsidies and a collective international binding agreement for a zero-carbon world by the end of the century. But how a carbon tax will make this happen remains a big question mark. History has shown us that we cannot rely on big corporations to move away from their old habits and lead the change needed for the better: How BP had invested in low carbon technology for decades just to abandon them for greater economic gains is a typical example.

In the mean time, the fossil fuel industry has been found to be operating dangerously in New Zealand, with over 130 incidents recorded in the last two years while the government continues to push for more drilling. They want us to believe that NZ can get rich on oil like Norway did. But even the Norwegians know: “When we wake up from this oil bubble … we will realise we will never have a fairy tale like this again.”

So let us get off fossil fuels and move on to more sustainable, democratic, decentralised energy systems that benefit communities and the planet. “We need a managed and fair transition, not a massive oil shock which could plunge the already fuel-poor into further hardship and breed economic and social pandemonium. If today’s anti-oil social movements continue to strengthen, this could happen: through pressure from shareholders, the erosion of oil companies’ social licence, the physical disruption of operations by local resistance, the boom in renewable energy, and public pressure on governments to take more decisive climate action”.