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Eight Actions Take to Phase Out Govt Support for Oil and Gas

Media release

Fossil Fuels Aotearoa Research Network (FFARN)

12 December 2017

Eight Actions Government Could Take to Phase Out Support for the Oil and Gas Industry

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared that fossil fuels do not have a place in New Zealand’s future. The cost to the economy of continued dependency on carbon-based energy will become an increasing drag on the country’s competitiveness and ability to meet its Paris climate commitments.

A robust strategy for transitioning to a decarbonised energy system must include a practical plan for phasing out government support for the oil and gas industry, and reinvesting the proceeds in disruptive technology, alternative energy infrastructure and incentivising public uptake.

Today the Fossil Fuels Aotearoa Research Network (FFARN) released a paper suggesting eight initiatives the government could undertake to begin phasing out public support for fossil fuels, particularly the oil and gas industry.

1) Banning oceanic seismic testing
2) Prohibiting the practice of fracking
3) Ending the awarding of exploration permits (e.g. Block Offer process) and permit
extensions
4) Reviewing and reinvesting subsidies and royalties
5) Legislative reform
6) Organisational restructuring
7) Tax reform
8) Support for a just transition for workers in affected industries

Dr Terrence Loomis, author of the study, said latest climate research indicates that not only is any new exploration and production incompatible with limiting global warming to below 2C, but many existing projects will need to be phased-out faster than their planned end-date.

“The consensus is that we have five to ten years to take effective mitigation action before we use up the world’s remaining carbon budget and breach the 2C limit,” he said.

The problem is fossil fuel companies aren’t about to simply go into voluntary liquidation in order to help mitigate climate change. For them, it is a battle for survival, the maintenance of business as usual and their energy sector dominance. Industry critic Alex Steffen has referred to the tactic ‘predatory delay’: “the deliberate slowing of needed change to prolong a profitable but unsustainable status quo that will be paid by other people eventually”.[1] The industry is pushing ‘transition gas’ as a way of maintaining business as usual. Dr Loomis argued that “the answer to increasing incidents of drought and low hydro lakes, however, is not to explore for more gas and burn more coal but speed up the development of solar, geothermal and other alternative energy projects."

There are currently some 40 new renewable energy projects that have either been permitted or awaiting approval across New Zealand that could help provide energy security for the future and break fossil fuel dependency.

To break New Zealand’s energy dependency cycle, the FFARN study concluded there is growing urgency to develop a climate change mitigation strategy that includes hastening the phase out of the coal and petroleum industries while investing in alternative energy technologies and infrastructure.

--ENDS

Full text of the study:
http://www.terrenceloomis.ac.nz/uploads/5/3/3/3/5333337/policy_paper-phasing_out_o_g..pdf

[1] Radio New Zealand, 23 September 2016. “Climate change: World 'continues to party like it's 1899'”. Eric
Frykberg.

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