NZ fossil fuel industry admits days are numbered

The oil and gas industry’s acknowledgment that fossil fuels’ days are numbered has left National isolated in its refusal to work towards a clean energy future, the Green Party said today.

The new chief executive of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association told Radio New Zealand this morning that his industry is ready and willing to adapt to “the transition that we know will ultimately occur”.

This follows the Rockefeller Foundation’s decision this week to pull NZ$62 billion worth of investments from fossil fuels, and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund’s announcement that it’s looking at risks associated with fossil fuel investment.

“The tide has turned on fossil fuels, and National are the only ones who haven’t realised it,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“When even the industry and the Government’s own Superannuation Fund admit fossil fuels are becoming a bad bet, National’s dogged support for oil, gas and coal begins to look foolish.

“For six years now, National has played favourites with fossil fuels and set New Zealand back in the transition to a cleaner, smarter economy.

“John Key needs to change tack in his third term, or New Zealand will get left behind.

“National’s approach is economically and environmentally risky. Long-term capital is being locked into a pollution economy while the rest of the world shifts investment into clean energy.

“Without a strong price signal on carbon, for example, companies like Fonterra have recently invested in a new opencast coal mine to power three of its Waikato dairy factories, rather than a clean energy alternative, like wood waste.

“The immediate risk is to our country’s ‘100% Pure’ brand and the export and tourism industries that rely on it. The long term risk is that New Zealand gets lumbered with ‘stranded assets’ – fossil fuel investments that are an economic albatross,” said Dr Norman.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates two-thirds of all money invested in new energy generation between now and 2030 will go to renewables.

“There is a fundamental change in the way the world works and does business. John Key is failing to ensure New Zealand keeps pace,” said Dr Norman.

The Green Party has a range of policies to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. These include a Green Investment Bank, a $1 billion investment into innovation, a strong price signal on carbon, support for electric vehicles, solar for homes and schools, and massive investment in public transport.