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.
By Rosemary Penwarden
The decision by ECAN and WDC to allow Fonterra to keep on expanding, adding a new 30-tonne/hour coal-fired boiler to their Studholme milk processing plant near Waimate, reminds me of my Dad’s driving.
When I was a kid we occasionally drove from Wanganui to Lower Hutt to visit cousins. With Dad behind the wheel it was Lower Hutt or Bust. Even a toilet stop required dire ultimatums to get the car to slow.
When Mum was behind the wheel, variables were appraised, the big picture assessed and the agenda adjusted accordingly. More often than not, that meant stops at every vegetable stand, regular side-of-the-road picnics and occasionally, much to Dad’s chagrin, detours to a stream for a quick dip before hitting the road again.
The decision to let Fonterra build a massive, coal-fired boiler in South Canterbury is a blow for the climate and a sustainable future, and flies in the face of any regard for our grandchildren, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.
Environment Canterbury and Waimate District Council today gave the go-ahead for Fonterra’s planned 30-tonne/hour coal-fired boiler at its Studholme factory just outside of Waimate.
According to an expert witness for CANA (1), this would have to see an increase in the South Canterbury/North Otago dairy herd of 270,000 cows, in order to provide enough milk to feed the factory.
In May, in the face of what it called “strong opposition,” Fonterra cut its plans back to one boiler instead of two.
“Even one new coal boiler will over-extend the environmental capacity of the area,” said Rosemary Penwarden, a grandmother, of CANA. “We are extremely disappointed that the Commissioners didn’t take the wider impact of the plant into account in their decision – the region can’t take it.
The Christchurch City Council should drop the two climate deniers it recently appointed to a new panel to re-review a coastal hazards report, Coal Action Network Aotearoa said today.
Christchurch City Council illustration of sea level rise
As part of its district plan, the council commissioned the engineering firm Tonkin Taylor to estimate the impacts of a sea level rise of around 40cm over the next 50 years, and one metre in 100 years.
After loud local protest from potentially affected residents, the council has appointed a new panel to conduct a second peer review of the report. But that panel now has two well-known climate science deniers on it: Kesten Green and Willem de Lange, whose history of climate denial has been set out on the Hot Topic blog. Continue reading
by Jenny Campbell
What does it mean to be part of a positive, hopeful and world -changing group of motivated people?
My experience of being part of the Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) team and their oral submission presentations at Studholme, near Waimate, was humbling, invigorating, and life changing.
The build-up and hours of submission writing, strategizing as to who from CANA was covering what aspect and counting the number of people from the local community as well as others from further afield who had committed to being there, all added to the anticipation.
Teleconference calls kept the focus on the strategy of presenting factual information to combat the Fonterra’s evidence. Much rejoicing occurred when we heard two experts, economist Peter Fraser and wood boiler engineer Christian Jirkowsky, had agreed to appear as expert witnesses on our behalf.
Fellow CANA member, Zella Downing and I set off after work from Invercargill, arriving in Waimate late at night, having covered a multitude of topics including what we were saying when it came to our oral presentations. We had already heard from CANA member, Rosemary Penwarden about her impressions from the days at the end of the previous week as to how the Commissioners were listening carefully to alternative views, not hurrying submitters, asking searching questions and appearing to be listening. Continue reading
Press release May 5 2016
That Fonterra has decided to scrap plans to build one of two coal-fired milk driers in South Canterbury is a good start, but the company could take a step further and cancel the entire project, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.
In response to strong opposition, including from CANA, Fonterra has told Environment Canterbury (1) that it no longer wants to build two coal-fired milk driers at its Studholme expansion outside Waimate in South Canterbury and has scaled plans back to just one. It has promised that this one plant would be a hybrid that could burn up to 20 per cent biomass instead of just coal, but still hasn’t committed to burning that biomass.
Protest outside a Fonterra distribution plant in Christchurch
“Fonterra has taken us halfway to the right point,” said Coal Action Network’s Cindy Baxter. “It has heard our opposition, but it hasn’t quite got the full message. It should cancel the second plant as well.”
“From our calculations, even one new boiler would require around 270,000 more cows (2) in the area to feed the plant, equivalent to plonking a city bigger than Los Angeles into the area, without a sewerage system. This is smaller than our original estimate of a Jakarta-sized footprint, but is still way more than the local environment can cope with.”
by Jeanette Fitzsimons
Why would Fonterra spend several million dollars on a process lasting nearly a year, seeking planning consent for a huge new milk drier that it knows will never be built?Perhaps that’s not a lot of money to them – after all, one million is only three months’ salary for their CEO.
Fonterra’s proposed Studholme project, just outside of Waimate in South Canterbury, would see two new spray driers powered by two immense coal boilers – one 65MW, the other 50.
This is the biggest new coal burning project in the country, with the hearing happening just as our Minister for Climate Change is about to travel to New York to sign the Paris agreement where we undertook to reduce our greenhouse emissions a totally inadequate 11% below 1990 levels. (It’s even more inadequate when creative accounting turns this into more like +10%).
Fonterra is already the second biggest coal burner in the country and grew its coal use by 38% between 2008-2013. They pay lip service to climate change but in practice are totally wedded to coal.
This new plant, if it is built and runs at capacity, would produce some 100,000 tonnes a year of greenhouse gas emissions (similar to its Darfield plant), plus the much more global warming potential of the methane and nitrous oxide from nearly half a million new cows that would be required to supply the milk. Continue reading
An unambiguous message outside the massive Fonterra plant in the small Southland town of Edendale. Great work by Coal Action Murihiku.
On Monday 4 April, as Fonterra launched its bid for resource consent for a massive coal-fired expansion of its Studholme plant in South Canterbury, which if consented and built further worsening greenhouse gas emissions at a critical time for the climate, ordinary New Zealanders up and down the nation took action in their local community. There were many voices, but one message: Fonterra, quit coal.
Fonterra responded with greenwash, claiming that they were on our side, and that their new Studholme boilers would, if built, use 20% biomass. But in fact their resource consent application documents say the boilers would use up to 20% biomass, and admit that “up to 20%” is mostly likely to mean “0%”.
It’s time to stop the spin, Fonterra. Actions speak a whole lot louder than words. You must take real, measurable, progressive steps to get off coal and onto renewable sources of energy.
Outside a Fonterra distribution plant in Christchurch
Outside Fonterra’s Brightwater factory near Nelson
Auckland Coal Action sends the message loud and clear
Outside Fonterra’s flash HQ
Poster placed in an Auckland window
Last week was a bad week for coal mines on the West Coast.
Work on the Denniston Plateau has now stopped.
Early in the week Solid Energy announced 24 workers would lose their jobs from the Stockton mine, and by the end of the week Bathurst announced that it is putting the Denniston mine on hold, laying off 12 workers.
Terrible news for those workers and their families.
At the heart of this is the same issue that sent Solid Energy under: plummeting coking coal prices – a price that has continued to fall, and was again cited as the reason for Solid’s new layoffs.
Over on the Denniston Plateau, Bathurst’s woes have stemmed, in the first instance, from the long-signalled closure of the Holcim plant in Westport, its biggest client. Bathurst has had to seek domestic buyers for its high grade coking coal, because of the low international price.
from Jeanette Fitzsimons
With the world committing at Paris to strive to keep global warming down to 1.5 degrees, the pressure is on Fonterra to stop increasing its coal use and start a gradual phase out. It cannot afford the reputational damage that will result from building its huge new drying plant at Studholme, increasing its coal use to some 600,000 tonne a year.
There is another way that could be more profitable for the company and especially for its farmers, while lightening its environmental footprint. The key is to substitute “value” for “volume”.
On 30 November NZ Farmers’ Weekly ran a big article where they lauded their achievements in energy efficiency, and complained that to get off coal was too big a challenge. We disagree.
See my response in last week’s issue: https://farmersweekly.co.nz/article/energy-challenges?p=24