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Taranaki Fossil Fools Promote Burning Fossil Fuels

Taranaki Fossil Fools Promote Burning Fossil Fuels

Auckland, Wednesday 24 September 2003: Greenpeace has criticised Taranaki lines company Powerco plans for burning gas for electricity. The concept is being reported as “environmentally friendly” [The Daily News, 22 September 2003].

“Burning gas to make electricity is not and never will be environmentally friendly – this is industry greenwash,” said Greenpeace climate campaigner Annette Cotter.

Burning gas and other fossil fuels drives dangerous climate change by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This thickens the canopy of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and traps heat – much like a blanket. The resulting increase in global temperature causes climate instability and extreme weather events such as drought. Droughts are predicted to affect our hydro lake levels and hydro generation.

“By burning fossil fuels that drive climate change, Powerco is undermining our future,” said Ms Cotter. “It will increase the likelihood of droughts and compromises our own hydro-lake levels. Ironically, generating electricity from burning fossil fuels feeds the ‘dry year’ problem they are trying to solve. Clearly, the thinking around electricity generation needs to change, and fast.”

New Zealand is in the privileged position of having one of the best wind resources on the planet. Coastal area in Taranaki from Waitara all the way south to Foxton in the Manawatu, have been identified by EECA as being ideal sites for wind farms. Wind farms also offer good opportunities for farmers to diversify their incomes by leasing land for wind turbines.

Other lines companies, such as Orion in Canterbury, are exploring and implementing clean renewable options. Orion has provided the link from Christchurch company Windflow Technology’s 500MW New Zealand-made wind turbine into the main grid. Christchurch City Council has signed a deal to take all the power generated.

“There’s absolutely no reason for Powerco to look at proposals that burn gas when they are in the enviable position of having excellent wind farm potential in their back yard”.

Associate Energy Minister and New Plymouth MP Harry Duynhoven is also showing he hasn’t come to terms with climate change and the visionary changes needed for our electricity system. He describes the proposal as a win-win situation. This is clearly not the case as the realities of climate change are being felt here, and overseas, with increased extreme weather events. The only win long-term is to stabilise the climate through generating electricity in clean, renewable ways.

New Zealand is at a crossroads where decisions being made this year will either embed burning dirty fossil fuels to generate electricity or alternatively lead New Zealand to be running on 100% clean renewable electricity generation by 2020.

For information contact: Climate Campaigner Annette Cotter 021 553 225 or Communications Officer Dean Baigent-Mercer 021 790 817


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