Written By: - Date published: 10:13 am, April 12th, 2018 - 158 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, climate change, Economy, energy, Environment, global warming, greens, jacinda ardern, labour, megan woods, science - Tags:
Climate change is our biggest challenge. If we do not get on top of the issue soon then we are facing catastrophic damage to our environment. Yesterday’s Auckland storm is but a portent of what will happen.
To address it we have to deal with our addiction to oil. As Bill McGibbon co founder of 350.org has said:
One lesson of this work is unmistakably obvious: when you’re in a hole, stop digging … These numbers show that unconventional and ‘extreme’ fossil fuel – Canada’s tar sands, for instance – simply have to stay in the ground. Given these numbers, it makes literally no sense for the industry to go hunting for more fossil fuel. We’ve binged to the edge of our own destruction. The last thing we need now is to find a few more liquor stores to loot.
The IPCC has concluded that to prevent irreparable environmental disaster emissions need to be capped so that temperature increases no more than 2 degrees celsius from pre industrial ages. There is a huge consensus reached between climate change scientists that currently discovered global oil reserves are greater than the amount that can be safely burned.
A few weeks ago Jacinda Ardern hinted that the annual block offer programme may be no more. The block offer programme is set up by the Crown Minerals Act. Each year the Crown consults on which areas oil explorers should have permission to explore for oil and gas and following consultation releases grants exploration permits to the oil industry. But news of a possible change was reported by Lucy Bennett at the Herald:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given the strongest signal yet that the days of oil and gas exploration in New Zealand are numbered.
Ardern said the world had moved on from fossil fuels.
The Government is at a critical point in its decision-making over the future of its oil and gas exploration permits.
In a surprise appearance that stunned observers, Ardern appeared on Parliament’s forecourt on Monday to accept a 45,000-strong Greenpeace petition calling for an end to oil and gas exploration.
She asked the climate change activists for more time.
“I ask now for a bit more time. We’re working hard on this issue and we know it’s something that we can’t afford to spend much time on but we are actively considering it now,” she said.
We stand for transformational change – moving to an economy that is sustainable, inclusive and productive.
That is this Government’s overriding economic aim.
We aim to shape an economy where we work smarter, make better use of our resources, ensure everyone who wants to work can work, and ensure that the benefits of growth are spread across society
And we aim to shape an economy that is sustainable, that is not prone to major shocks, and that meets our obligations to our Paris commitments.
And that means having a plan to responsibly transition towards a low carbon economy.
Our goals in this area are ambitious and plainly stated.
A carbon neutral economy by 2050.
100% renewable electricity, in a normal hydrological year, by 2035.
These targets commit us to a long term transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
And this morning it was announced that the granting of off shore exploration permits was not going to occur any more. But the usual suspects were unhappy.
From Radio New Zealand:
The government has announced it will not grant new deep-sea oil and gas exploration permits, but New Plymouth’s mayor says he has not heard of a specific plan for transitioning to green energy.
Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods announced this morning there will be no new offshore block offers, the annual tender process that allows corporations to bid for permits.
The Block Offer programme set up by the previous government annually invites bids for new onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration.
Ms Woods said the decision would not affect the 22 active offshore licences, which cover roughly 100,000 sqkm of ocean, with the last one to finish in 2030.
“In each of the last two years only one permit has been granted for offshore oil and gas exploration,” she said.
“This decision does not affect current reserves or the potential finds from current exploration permits. As the industry itself admits, there is good potential for more to be found.”
Exploration on land for petroleum products was not being halted however, with Ms Woods set to consult with iwi and hapū regarding a 1703sqkm area proposed in the Taranaki Basin.
She said all conservation land would be excluded from the final tenders.
However, New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdem said the move was a “kick in the guts for the future of the Taranaki economy”.
“The key thing for us is that we want to see a plan,” he said.
“Is the government going to put money to help us? It’s all very well for Shane Jones to come up here and give us $20 million in regional development but it will take a hell of a lot more than that to help transition us out of oil and gas.”
“We have the highest GDP in the country per capita – it’s concerning the government has made this announcement without a plan … or if they have one we haven’t seen it.”
There is a plan. Carbon neutral by 2050 and 100% renewable energy by 2035. Taranaki’s engineering expertise can be diverted into these new programmes. And the cancellation of the issuing of permits does not affect existing oil wells or existing exploration permits.
Petroleum and Production Association of New Zealand chief executive Cameron Madgwick said they were very dissapointed with the government’s decision.
He said there had been a complete lack of consultation with the industry.
Mr Madgwick said it would have a massive impact on jobs and other forms of fuel would become more expensive.
He also said it was an issue of energy security.
I am not surprised the industry is upset. But their claims of being blindsided are not correct. You just have to read Megan Woods’ recent speech to the Oil Industry to see that this is the case.
And consultation? This issue and the need to stop further oil exploration has been talked about for decades. The oil industry cannot claim to have been caught by surprise.
This is a good decision and the start of weaning our nation off oil. But the development of alternative energy sources will be vital.