Groups Plan To Stop Minerals Forum Next Month

28 Sep

Church groups, students, climate activists, anti-mining protectors and individuals from across the country have announced they plan to stop this year’s Minerals Forum in Hamilton next month to highlight the destruction of mining, drilling and resource extraction that is killing our planet. They are calling on people to join them.

Big jump in coal fired electricity

29 Aug

The dirtiest electricity is on the rise again, with 62 per cent more coal burned to generate electricity in 2019, compared to the year before.

Jeanette Fitzsimons Virtual Memorial

11 Jul


2 Aug

The recent announcement that Fonterra might convert from coal to gas is definitely not a move in the right direction. It may in fact be worse than coal.

The burning of what is largely methane, in energy terms, produces about half the CO2 of coal and this fact is used to suggest that the switch to natural gas constitutes a reduction in emissions, but this comparison conveniently ignores the leakage of methane during the extraction, processing and transport. The industry often suggest rates of less than 1% … However a 1% leakage of methane with a GHGe impact some 80 times that of CO2 (over a 20 year period) one can readily verify that the “well-to-wheel” impacts of using gas are worse than that of using coal in global warming effects.

More recent research puts the leakage rates at between 4-9%, so considerably worse than the Industry estimates. The evidence is that fracking in the US in particular has greatly accelerated GHG emissions and this global temperature rises are accelerating as a result of this industry shift.

All of the methane ultimately over time becomes CO2… 1 tonne of methane (CH4) results in approx three tonnes of CO2 … four Hydrogen each with molecular weight 1 is replaced by two Oxygen each with molecular weight 16, Carbon having a molecular weight of 14.

Leakage of natural gas from a single event hit an all time record in 2015 with the Aliso Canyon leak in Californian and requiring the evacuation of thousands.

But there are many other significant leakage which are arguably a result of the the oil and gas industry “However NASA researchers concluded in 2016 that oil and gas production and distribution activities were principally responsible for the methane releases”

The idea that gasses may be safely sequestered into underground natural geological structures is in serious question… as is the suggestion CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) is at all possible or practical, energy costs aside.

It is for such reasons that our attention to Huntly should address not just coal but indeed Genesis’ move to gas… Meeting industrial heat requirements will be challenging for companies like Fonterra, but there is absolutely no excuse for the electricity industry not to embrace wind and solar, both capable of undercutting coal and gas cost in the generation of electricity. Storage options are available and proven, albeit at a price.

Should they be converting to electric or wood chips rather than gas?”

It should be thermal solar, augmented by PV solar and wind with suitable energy storage (zeolite looks interesting as a lossless store for heat energy). I don’t believe any sort of burning or combustion process is appropriate.. Its a moot point as to whether wood chips are any more sustainable, than coal, oil or gas. Have just watched a DW video exposing how the FSC accreditation of wood product has been seriously subverted by the timber industry… same sort of dishonesty that pervades the fossil fuel industry.


31 Jul


Fonterra moving in right direction.

25 Jul

Fonterra moving in right direction, but much faster action needed

Fonterra’s recent announcement that it will be installing no new coal boilers from now on is a significant step in the right direction, but does not result in any immediate reduction in coal use. Coal boilers can have a life of more than 30 years, so phasing out of coal by this step alone would be far too slow. Much faster action is needed by Fonterra to reduce its emissions.

The recent IPCC report (Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C, October 2019) says that emissions need to fall globally by around 45% below 2010 figures by 2030, but it also says that coal emissions need to fall by around 67% by that date. As a developed country with the necessary expertise and resources, we should be aiming considerably higher than this. A complete phase-out of coal by 2030, or even by 2025, needs to be seriously considered.

Fonterra has other options. For example, a lot of off-cuts from forestry that could be used to power boilers currently go to waste. Trees and other biomass can also be specifically grown to supply fuel. This is an environmentally sustainable way of operating provided there is re-planting as the energy sources are used.

Natural gas is not a good alternative because use of this fossil fuel also needs to rapidly fall. But from an environmental point of view, moving to electricity is a good option because around 80% of the energy currently comes from renewable resources and we have the potential to increase this rapidly towards 100%, if the right steps are taken.

One reason coal and other fossil fuels are still widely used is that they appear to be low cost options. But this doesn’t factor in the cost of the damage caused. The recent IPCC report estimates the damage cost at above US$100 per tonne of CO2 (about NZ$150 / tonne CO2). New Zealand’s Productivity Commission has already concluded that we should price emissions to reflect their harm (Low Emissions Economy, final report, August 2018). Hence, we believe New Zealand’s carbon charges need to rapidly rise to at least this level. It would be prudent for Fonterra to plan on this basis.

So, in summary, it is good that Fonterra has taken this step, but it also needs to immediately start making major reductions in its coal use.


Fonterra reduces reliance on coal ahead of plan.

18 Jul


15 May


Cows Join Protest

11 May

Friday 10/5/2019  

A couple of cow costumes livened up the journey home for commuters passing Fonterra’s Head Quarters in Fanshawe St this afternoon. Auckland Climate Action was joined by two supporters dressed in fashionable colour-ways, the dramatic black and white Friesian, and the reliable beige and brown Jersey, dairy cow costumesas once again around 20 members and friends of ACAturned out to send a message to our biggest dairy company – that THERE IS NO PLACE IN TODAY’S CLIMATE-ENDANGERED WORLD FOR AN INDUSTRY THAT STILL BURNS COAL. 


By now everyone knows the atmosphere is overheating and the climate IS changing. That this directly endangers the dairy industry is well understood by all farmers. But this same dairy industry is by now right up there with New Zealand Steel in its level of coal consumption  and is using sub-bituminous coal as fuel for its factory boilers, which is more pollutant than the high-qualitycoal necessary to manufacture steel. This is not a record to be proud of. Fonterra could, and should, at least be trialling alternative methods of production including burning the forestry industry’s wood waste (which is plentiful in the north Waikato area) as a renewablealternative to local coal. Using Electricity to heat the boilers is another alternative which other dairy companies are looking at.  We call on Fonterra to please, get their act together and show some sense of responsibility towards the future generations whose only home is this lovely planet called Earth.


11 May from RNZ.