from Jeanette Fitzsimons
It is perhaps no surprise that our friend Fonterra, as the second biggest coal user in NZ (and a substantial user of gas as well), is among the “dirty dozen” largest users of fraudulent ETS credits identified by the Morgan Foundation in their brilliant piece of research Who’s the Real Cheat Here? Climate Cheats II: The Dozen Dirty Businesses.
What is surprising is that in Zella’s creative graphic below, using figures from that report, Fonterra doesn’t look too bad. It comes tenth in the Morgan list and holds fewer shonky credits than the oil and electricity companies. Fonterra’s 1.2 million units, although still huge, compare favourably with BP’s 6.1 million units.
But Fonterra is worse than they look and here’s why:
The ETS rules give free credits to “trade exposed” companies whose overseas competitors don’t have to pay any price for their carbon emissions. Fonterra is eligible for free credits equal to 60% of its process emissions.
These credits, worth up to $25 per unit on the international market, are paid out courtesy of the NZ taxpayer. Fonterra was expected to use them in part-payment for their emissions.
But they didn’t. Instead, like many other companies benefitting from this largesse, Fonterra cheated. They sold the credits at full price and bought dirt cheap credits from places like Russia and Ukraine which did not represent actual emissions reductions – in other words, they were fraudulent. They used these junk credits to pay their ETS obligation to the Government.
Jeanette Fitzsimons writes…
Well, actually CANA doesn’t care whether Fonterra uses wood or not. If it finds a way to dry milk with moonbeams, that’s fine by us. What it mustn’t do is keep using coal, let alone expanding it, or expand its gas use.
We’ve been promoting waste wood from forestry because that is abundant, it’s renewable as long as forests are replanted, the technology to burn it is mature, it is found around the country, and we have the local expertise. So, ever helpful, we are getting alongside Fonterra and trying to find a good alternative for them. But the bottom line is, coal must go, and so must gas soon after.
Outside its Edendale dairy factory in Southland, Fonterra gets a clear message.
Our campaign is having an effect – faster than we expected.
After hearing our evidence (well, our witness Peter Fraser’s evidence) at the Studholme consent hearing that prices are not going to rise enough to make new or expanded dairy farms profitable, and so there will be no milk for the proposed plant to dry, Fonterra has half accepted our argument and dropped one of their two proposed driers. That’s 270,000 new cows they were sure a few weeks ago they had to provide for, which they now agree are not going to materialise. So where is their evidence that the other 270,000 will?
Rosemary Penwarden spent a day in the fantasy world of “Business as Usual” opposing Fonterra’s ten-fold expansion of its South Canterbury Studholme milk drying plant. Find out what it feels like to take a trip down the rabbit hole:
Christchurch is rebuilding two hospitals – the central one and one at Burwood. One is installing state-of-the-art waste wood boilers, the other plans, bizarrely, to move two existing coal boilers on to the site, costing millions of dollars just to shift in some dirty energy.
Climate and health conscious people around the country and particularly in Canterbury have been vocal about the insanity of this and now there is a glimmer of hope. The tender documents were withdrawn last year and have been reissued. The wording is such that it could be possible to avoid coal.
Jeanette Fitzsimons gives the background and explores the arguments in The Press last week: http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/77738911/why-a-hospital-should-not-be-burning-coal
Sarah Thomson is taking the Government to court over its climate change target
The good news: it appears that, in 2015, carbon dioxide emissions will actually drop – mainly thanks to China’s falling coal consumption.
The bad news: New Zealand’s emissions continue to rise steeply. The New Zealand’s Government pathetic lack of action on climate change, and its equally pathetic contributions to international climate negotiations, keeps earning New Zealand Fossil of the Day awards at the Paris climate talks.
New Zealanders aren’t taking this lying down, as the great turnout for November’s climate marches in 35 centres around the country showed. While groups like CANA campaign against New Zealand’s worst sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as Fonterra, law student Sarah Thomson is taking a different approach.
Sarah is launching a judicial review of the New Zealand Government’s completely inadequate emissions reduction targets – and you can help her fund that legal action. A similar action in Holland was successful recently – please donate to ensure the Government can be held to account.