climate change

Letter to Shell: Now Stay Away From The Great South Basin

OFO ready response practice run 12 January 2014

Dear Shell NZ,
Yesterday Shell pulled out of drilling in the Arctic. This is such good news for millions of people worldwide. We have one planet and the race is on to save it. The people are winning.
We are writing to demand that you now cease any further plans to drill in the Great South Basin, off the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
Your industry is a rogue industry without the social licence to continue. Already discovered oil and gas must remain unburned for global warming to keep below an un-survivable tipping point. New frontier exploration must cease.
Like the Arctic, the deep ocean of the Great South Basin is frontier territory. Any hydrocarbon discoveries in this region are unburnable if we are to retain a liveable planet. You have no right to continue; your extreme destructive behaviour is putting us all at risk.
Remember the kayaktavists of Seattle? Be prepared for similar opposition in New Zealand. All further efforts to drill here will be strongly opposed.
Shell: pull out of the Great South Basin now, or expect resistance. The people are building a better, fairer world and we are winning. Get out of the way.
Yours sincerely
OIL FREE OTAGO

Advertisements

Religious or not, got to LOVE that Pope Francis

Catholic or not, the Pope is talking to you! “Faced with the global deterioration of the environment, I want to address every person who inhabits this planet,” the pope wrote. “In this encyclical, I especially propose to enter into discussion with everyone regarding our common home.”

It is a strange day when the Pope quotes modern science. The face of religion is changing, along with the climate. Pope Francis says, “numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity. ”

The Guardian reports that the “draft is not a detailed scientific analysis of the global warming crisis. Instead, it is the pope’s reflection of humanity’s God-given responsibility as custodians of the Earth.”

The Pope calls on governments to tackle pollution and carefully consider the development of poorer nations.

His holyness also calls out the climate change deniers and those that unravel social progress by saying “the attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions.”

Besides the calamity of the Pope’s encyclical being leaked before planned release, he will still have the chance to address the United Nations at his upcoming speach in the United States.

The internet has spoken its praise and gratitude to the Pope by creating this satirical and thrilling trailer to the Pope’s hypothetical new movie Pope Francis: The Encyclical. Hysterical! #PopeForPlanet

Wanganui Chronical: Many holes in Norway fairytale

Wanganui Chronical: Many holes in Norway fairytale

6 April 2015

NEW ZEALAND OR NORWAY? Actually, it's Fiordland, New Zealand. We may look similar, but we can never get rich through oil and gas exploration the way Norway did. PHOTO/DEREK ONLEY

NEW ZEALAND OR NORWAY? Actually, it’s Fiordland, New Zealand. We may look similar, but we can never get rich through oil and gas exploration the way Norway did. PHOTO/DEREK ONLEY

WE COULD be like Norway, say oil industry proponents. Norway is rich because of oil and gas. If New Zealand wants a model from a similar-sized country, they say, it need look no further than Norway.

I’m reminded of a childhood fairy tale; remember the goose that laid the golden egg? Jack’s mother was aghast when he exchanged their cow for a few useless beans, but the beans were magic. After a number of near-misses, not without their health and safety risks, Jack got the goose, became wealthy beyond his wildest dreams and he and his mother got bigger digs and reportedly lived a happy, high-consumer lifestyle ever after.

Simon Bridges thinks oil and gas are going to be New Zealand’s golden goose, the way it was for Norway.

But he’s too late. Back in the 1970s the Norwegian Government made a calculated decision to tax the oil companies at 90 per cent. To their surprise, the companies paid the high taxes and kept coming. Norway got rich.

Norway still charge one of the highest tax rates, around 78 per cent, while New Zealand charges oil companies 42 per cent tax – one of the lowest tax takes in the world.

What Norway did in the 1970s is impossible to achieve today. Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries still have large reserves of “easy” oil. Their production is not at full capacity, so they still have the ability to influence world oil prices. Ramping up Middle East production volumes can bring prices down and make unconventional and marginal oil production uneconomic. This is far from the full explanation of the current oil price crash, but it’s been cited as a part of the puzzle.

Even before the 50 per cent drop in Brent Crude (the North Sea oil pricing benchmark), no oil company today could afford the royalties/taxes that Norway demanded back then. For deep sea drilling in New Zealand, described by the industry as a “frontier” region, margins are tight.

Back in Norway, it’s not all golden eggs. At current prices, more than half the offshore fields being developed along the Norwegian continental shelf are uneconomic [1].

In the past six months Norway’s kroner has dropped 20 per cent against the dollar. Norway’s partially state-owned oil companies Statoil and its service companies have cut thousands of jobs, and Norwegian unions are calling for government measures to protect the industry [2].

The fairy tale is ending, but Hilde Opoku of Norway’s Green Party says Norwegians are still blind to the coming change. “When we wake up from this oil bubble,” he said, “we will realise we will never have a fairy tale like this again.”

No one will. Climate change now dictates our future, a future where, if we are to keep global warming to the agreed 2C limit, most of our known reserves of oil and gas cannot be burned. Why on earth are we looking for more? Oil and gas will never be New Zealand’s golden goose. It’s time to stop believing in fairy tales.

References:

1) http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/oil-price-plunge-leads-to-lifestyle-shift-in-norway-1.2250550

2) /www.bloomberg.com/news/2015-01-08/norway-on-alert-as-oil-losses-have-government-exploring-options.html

-Rosemary Penwarden is a freelance writer and member of several environmental and climate justice groups. In between projects, she divides her time between her 3-year-old grandson and elderly mother.

Wanganui Chronicle

By Rosemary Penwarden

ANZ STOP FUNDIN DEEP SEA DRILLING

Oil Free Otago Press Release

24 MAR 2015
ANZ STOP FUNDING DEEP SEA DRILLING

Today Oil Free Otago and 350.org will be at the ANZ bank, 71 George St, to present a letter to the manager asking ANZ to stop sponsoring deep sea drilling.“ANZ is using its customers’ money to sponsor deep sea drilling” said Oil Free Otago spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden.ANZ bank is sponsoring the Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Summit, to be held at Sky City at the end of March, where Energy Minister Simon Bridges will launch the 2015 Block Offer.

This is the third time ANZ has been targeted this week. ANZ Christchurch was yesterday visited by climate activists holding banners and demanding ANZ stop sponsoring the Petroleum Summit. In Auckland, helium-filled black balloons werereleased inside the bank. Stranded against the bank’s ceiling they represented carbon bubbles; future stranded assets of the fossil fuel industry.

“Scientists say we cannot burn most of the already discovered oil, gas and coal and still keep global warming to two degrees” said Ms Penwarden “yet ANZ is using our money to help the petroleum industry look for more! ANZ is sponsoring climate change.”

“ANZ say they are responding to climate change because it poses serious risks to the environment, to the economy and to their clients. But to the oil industry ANZ say they are committed to supporting deep sea drilling. They can’t have it both ways.”

“We are calling on the ANZ Bank NOT to sponsor the NZ Petroleum Summit. We are calling on ANZ to divest from fossil fuels. It’s their customers’ money, so customers have a say in how their banks shape our future. ANZ: stop sponsoring climate change.”
ENDS

Contacts
350@350.org.nz

OilFreeOtago@gmail.com

Public Lecture: Climate Change & Communities

Public Lecture: Climate Change & Communities

Drs Andy Reisinger and Judy Lawrence present: The latest climate change assessments: What do they mean for our communities?

Monday 16 June 2 – 3 pm at Otago University Burns 2 Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Dunedin Campus

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released its Fifth Assessment reports on the science, the impacts, adaptaion and vulnerability, and mitigation.  Andy Reisinger, co-ordinating lead author of the Working Group II Australasia chapter and Judy Lawrence, NZ Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University, Wellington, will talk about what these new reports mean for us all.  

Prof Bob Lloyd’s Message to Anadarko, OFO Flotilla 2014-02-09

Professor Bob Lloyd is the Director of Energy Studies in the University of Otago’s Physics Department. In this clip he challenges Anadarko’s ship the Noble Bob Douglas as it arrives to a deep-sea-drilling site off the coast of Otago. Professor Bob Lloyd is a world-class leader in the academic community who investigates the science of climate change. Here he stresses the urgency to stop the expansion of marginal fossil fuels, and why community leaders, like himself, are stepping up and saying “enough is enough”. 

More Marketing Than Science

rodshow

Opinion piece by Rosemary Penwarden, published in the Wanganui Chronicle.

What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs? A big black dinosaur truck parks in the centre of town and smiling young people offer free bottled water and sign you up for some fun stuff.

You get your own ID card, swipe it at each display and are welcomed personally to learn about science. How exciting to learn that the exhaust fumes coming out of dad’s car used to be a dinosaur.

Only they didn’t. And it’s not science.

Fossil fuels were not formed from dinosaurs and most of the fossil fuels in the Taranaki region, where this truck has been touring, were laid down in the Cenozoic period after dinosaurs became extinct around 65 million years ago. Taranaki’s oil and gas is produced from decayed plant material, not dinosaur carcasses.

There is some science in the truck and some of the exhibits, along with the truck itself, are hired from the National Science-Technology Roadshow Trust, which New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG) sponsors to the tune of $50,000 a year and which has been travelling around New Zealand schools since 1990.

To any unsuspecting parent – and to the kids – it looks like the same old National Science-Technology Roadshow, but when I visited the “What Lives Down Under?” show in Wanganui, NZOG’s external relations manager John Pagani explained that this roadshow is a joint effort by NZOG, Canada’s TAG Oil and Australian company Beach Energy.

About 900 Wanganui kids visited the truck, and the roadshow is visiting Taranaki schools.

Each display emphasised our need for oil and gas and how safe it is, reinforced with images of sleek, shiny cars, expensive boats and planes. My impression of the displays was that they were done by marketing people, not scientists.

For example, the seismic testing display used a cute picture of a bat to explain the sonar technology. There was no mention, or aural examples, of the seismic explosions that have been shown to harm marine life.

There was a lot missing from NZOG, TAG Oil and Beach Energy’s version of “science”, notably any mention of climate change and the effect on the climate of exploring for and burning more oil and gas.

Why tour Wanganui and South Taranaki? Next year the companies will be drilling an exploratory well, Kaheru, 12km off Patea at a water depth of 20-30m in a previously unexplored part of the South Taranaki Bight just north of Wanganui.

The industry knows it hasn’t always managed its external relations well and this, Mr Pagani said, was a way of “trying to start a conversation”.

Why target children? Why not have a public meeting and explain to the adults what you’re planning? He said public meetings didn’t bring people in, while a roadshow would. It brings the parents, too, and staff were there to answer questions.

A young employee in the truck said she had been a bit concerned about the industry targeting children, but her boss thought public meetings disruptive, so they were going for something positive. Does being positive allow you to alter scientific facts?

It takes roughly six to 10 years for a newly-discovered oil or gas field, like Kaheru, to reach full production and, depending on its size, production might last a further 40 years. By then, around mid-century, most of the children at the roadshow will be taxpaying adults and parents.

By then – according to 97 per cent of the world’s climate scientists – we need to have stopped burning CO2.

If we are to take the science seriously, most of the assets on the oil and gas companies’ balance sheets must remain unburned. Only then, scientists say, is there a chance of preserving a habitable future climate.

Mr Pagani said he does not think it fair, all this talk about the destruction of our children’s future. He thinks there is a wonderful future ahead for them.

I agree but it has to be founded on a truthful understanding of climate science, and on the essential but short-term role of his industry as we transition to a low-carbon future.

As long as Mr Pagani and industry investors continue to push – even to kids – their version of a future more related to increasing profit than reality, there is little hope.

Rosemary Penwarden is a Dunedin grandmother, freelance writer and member of Oil Free Otago.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503423&objectid=11212754&ref=rss