Oil Free Otago

Fossil Fuel Funeral

In memory of Fossil Fuels

In memory of Fossil Fuels

Oil Free Otago Media Release 30 October 2015

Fossil Fuels are Dead – Long Live Renewables

Oil Free Otago friends and supporters are meeting this afternoon, Friday 30 October, to mourn the demise of the fossil fuel industry. “The time has come to face facts” Oil Free Otago’s Rosemary Penwarden said. “With vital signs so low, recovery really is out of the question. Fossil fuels are on the way out.”

A wake for Oil and Gas is being held outside the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, 118 High Street, Dunedin, to coincide with the New Zealand Oil and Gas Investor briefing inside.

“We want to support New Zealand Oil and Gas investors.” Ms Penwarden said. “They must be feeling pretty bad right now with their share price so low. But it’s time for investors to face reality. The first stage of grief is always denial, so we are here to support them as they move to the next stage.

“Even Energy Minister Simon Bridges is calling for fossil fuel subsidies to be stopped.”

“A realistic carbon price is just around the corner, and fossil fuel companies are fast losing their social licence to operate.”

Fossil fuels lost the race with renewables in 2013 when 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity surpassed 141 gigawatts in fossil fuel-powered plants. By 2030 Bloomberg analysts predict there will be more than four times more renewable than fossil fuelled capacity, and by 2050 scientists warn that the world must have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“NZ Oil and Gas investors should cut their losses and reinvest in a clean future.”

END

Funeral Pamphlet-page-001

 

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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

Next Meeting: Potluck & Poetry

Join Oil Free Otago next week on Wednesday 24 June at 6pm for a POTLUCK and PLANNING for our next event.

We are gearing up for the return of exploratory drilling off our coasts next summer. In anticipation for a possible flotilla to confront the drill ships we will need to do some fundraising and in the process some soul searching. We are planning a poetry night and we’d love to have your help in weaving the words to page.

RSVP by oilfreeotago@gmail.com by Tuesday 23 June if you’d like to attend the potluck planning evening. Email us anytime if you would like to deliver some of your spoken word at the event (date TBA).

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

Oil Free Otago on Otago Access Radio

Oil Free Otago Radio on Otago Access Radio. Rosemary Penwarden with St. John from North West Mayo, Ireland where nonviolent direct action has kept Shell in a pickle for nearly 15 years.

Oil Free Otago Radio on Otago Access Radio. Rosemary Penwarden with St. John from North West Mayo, Ireland where nonviolent direct action has kept Shell in a pickle for nearly 15 years.

Oil Free Otago Radio – Wednesdays, 1pm-1.30pm

Oil Free Otago is a group of Otago residents who aim to protect our oceans and climate by preventing deep sea drilling and further exploration off our coasts through non-violent, community-led action.

Tune in each week for interviews and discussion around this critical issue for Aotearoa.

Listen to the latest episode here: Oil Free Otago Radio PopUpPlayer

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

BLOCK OFFER 2015: MORE OF OUR SEAS FOR SALE

Oil Free Otago Press Release

30 MAR 2015
BLOCK OFFER 2015: MORE OF OUR SEAS FOR SALE

At midday today Oil Free Otago will be at the office of Dunedin North MP Michael Woodhouse to deliver a message to his government.“Today this National Government are again offering our Seas for Sale to foreign oil companies to explore for more oil and gas” said Oil Free Otago spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden, “despite the fact that we can’t burn most of the already discovered fossil fuels and keep to the two degree global warming limit that this government agreed to at Copenhagen.”

This morning Energy Minister Simon Bridges announced its 2015 Block Offer to oil companies at the Advantage NZ Petroleum Summit, Sky City Casino, Auckland.

Oil Free Otago’s protest is one of several around the country recently . Last week ANZ bank was targeted in three cities, including Dunedin, for sponsoring the petroleum Summit.

Yesterday thousands of people marched in Auckland against the government’s agenda of drilling for more deep sea oil and gas.

This morning Petroleum conference attendees were confronted with activists holding up mural-sized photographs depicting the human and animal suffering of climate-related crises.

“We have a question for our local National Party MP, Michael Woodhouse” said Ms Penwarden. “The science is clear. What doesn’t his government get about climate change?”

“This National Government are stuck in last century’s polluting fossil fuel energy policies just when we need to urgently move to a clean energy low carbon energy policy. They have no regard for securing a stable, liveable climate for our children’s future, or that of all living creatures.”

“Fossil Fuels are not our future. We will not stand by while this government continues to put our planet at risk.”
ENDS

Contact
Oil Free Otago
oilfreeotago@gmail.com

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

Global Divestment Day 13 Feb 2014

Oil Free Otago Press Release

13 FEB 2015
DUNEDIN EVENT: GLOBAL DIVESTMENT DAY

On Global Divestment Day 13th Feb, supporters of Oil Free Otago and 350 Aotearoa will meet in the Octagon at noon to deliver messages of support to the DCC on their divestment from fossil-fuels.

The group commends the council for taking a stand last May when the initial vote committed to adopt legislation on ethical investments. To finalise the process, legislation which resulted from May 2014 will be voted on in early March this year. When adopted, Waipori Fund investments will be shifted away from arms, tobacco, gambling, pornography, and fossil fuel extraction companies.

Supporters of Oil Free Otago and 350 Aotearoa will line up together at the DCC customer service centre to deliver “Valentine’s” cards to the DCC to encourage their move to a fossil-free city. According to http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/ there are already over 30 cities around the world divested from fossil fuels or in the process like Dunedin.

Oil Free Otago spokesperson Annabeth Cohen says, “Dunedin is not alone: we’re accompanied by the Anglican Church of Aotearoa and Victoria University. Being that it is an international day of action, we expect a plethora of organisations and other city councils to announce their plans to divest as well.”

Founder of the global divestment movement, Bill McKibben who traveled to Dunedin last year said it best when he said, “If it’s wrong to wreck the climate then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”

Cohen said, “divesting is about casting a vote of confidence with our money. We can have a clean and clear conscious then re-invest that money in our local economy and renewable energy. This let’s the global markets and governments know we want to be free from dirty fossil fuels.“

ENDS

Contact

OilFreeOtago@gmail.com

Petition Links: Active Petition

Event Links: Facebook, 350.org

ON OUR WATCH – Oil Search Puts Dolphins At Risk

Oil Free Otago member Rosemary Penwarden: “We have taken our eyes off the ball by allowing bad industry science to put the smallest, rarest and most endangered dolphins in the world into the firing line.”

Printed in the Otago Daily Times Friday 23 January 2015 Oil Search Puts Dolphins at Risk

“Rosemary Penwarden, of Waitati, links seismic testing for oil and gas with serious harm to whales and dolphins.

Please don’t read this if you want a good news story.

It’s a story of loss, of taking our eyes off the ball and letting bad stuff happen.

Maui’s dolphins used to play off the North Island’s west coast beaches the way Hector’s dolphins do off Warrington and other Dunedin beaches.

Now they face not only gill nets, but also this Government’s decision to open most of their west coast home range to oil industry seismic testing.

What is seismic testing?

I posed that question when visiting the NZ Oil and Gas ”What Lives Down Under” roadshow before it travelled to South Taranaki schools last year.

A cartoon of a bat explained the industry’s sonar technology similarity with these furry wee creatures, giving the impression of a benign series of electronic blips on a radar screen.

In reality, detonators on seismic ships such as the Aquila Explorer, now surveying in the North Island for Norwegian oil giant Statoil and soon destined for the Great South Basin off our coast, send sonic explosions every 10 to 15 seconds down hundreds of metres to penetrate the sea floor and bounce back to surface detectors, revealing possible points where oil or gas may be found.

Oil prospecting air guns reach about 260 decibels (dB) on a logarithmic scale on which it is known that anything above 170 dB disturbs marine organisms.

Seismic testing?

Seismic blasting is a more apt description.

In 2010, scientists estimated 55 Maui’s dolphins remained.

Don’t be fooled by the oil industry’s reassurance that ”there is no evidence to suggest seismic testing injures marine mammals.”

That is not science.

That is twisted logic on a par with equating furry bats with seismic ocean blasting.

The industry will argue observers on their seismic vessels halt ”blasting” when a whale or dolphin is seen, but University of Otago associate professor of zoology Dr Liz Slooten said having observers on oil survey vessels was ”virtually useless”, as observers see about only 10% of whales and dolphins in the area.

Real science tells us seismic blasting affects the behaviour of marine organisms.

In 2013, scientists concluded the mass stranding of about 100 whales northwest of Madagascar was primarily triggered by seismic blasting by a survey vessel contracted by Exxon Mobil.

In July last year, a 100-tonne blue whale washed up on Tapuae Beach in Taranaki.

Did seismic blasting kill it?

The level of decomposition suggests it died about the same time in the same area that blasting was taking place.

This week, three beached whales were found on Whatipu Beach near Auckland. Seismic blasting is occurring offshore in this area right now.

Would it be unreasonable to think that seismic blasting would injure or kill a small dolphin, dependent as it is on sensory specialisations such as echolocation for navigation, communication and feeding?

This February and March, despite the collapse in oil and gas prices, despite the cost to New Zealand Oil and Gas, Woodside Energy, Anadarko, Origin Energy and Discover Exploration Ltd, despite signs that future exploratory drilling in our remote, marginal conditions looks far from economically feasible, and despite the insanity of exploring for more oil and gas when burning already discovered reserves would take us way past 2degC of global warming and so must not occur, 3-D seismic blasting is scheduled to go ahead in the Canterbury and Great South Basins off Dunedin.

While the North Island is the Maui’s dolphin home range, our southern oceans are home to 38 of the world’s 80 whale and dolphin species.

That’s almost half of the entire world’s species in our place, in our care. On our watch.

We make sure our children wear hats in the sun. We wear seatbelts, keep left, get a warrant of fitness and do all kinds of other sensible things to avoid bad stuff happening.

We have taken our eyes off the ball by allowing bad industry science to put the smallest, rarest and most endangered dolphins in the world into the firing line.

The world is watching; the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission issued urgent recommendations in May last year to protect Maui’s dolphins, and was ignored by government.

How many years did we have ”no evidence that smoking causes lung cancer?”

How many millions of people died before the tobacco industry was held to account?

We would be naive to imagine there are still 55 Maui’s dolphins left.

The question ”Will seismic blasting mean the end of these dolphins?” has not been answered.

Until it is we should adopt the precautionary principle and avoid this harmful practice.

There may still be time to give this story a happy ending.”