Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Fonterra puts coal on a spin cycle

27 June 2019:


We appear to have forced Fonterra into defending its coal use. They’ve got a new page on their website that’s all about coal.

Fonterra vies with Genesis (Huntly Power Station) in being Aotearoa’s second largest coal user. Fonterra’s “commitment” to the climate (enthusiastically welcomed by Climate Change Minister James Shaw) is that it won’t build any new coal-fired power stations after 2030. That’s the date at which the world has to halve its coal use, according to experts. Climate guru Dr James Hanson wants all coal use stopped by 2030. Any coal boiler built in 2030 would still be running in 2070, but the world needs to be out of coal altogether by 2050.

Synlait, on the other hand, has stated that it won’t build any new coal boilers at all. From now.Fonterra vies with Huntly power station in being New Zealand’s second-largest coal user.

In 2015, we calculated Fonterra’s coal use. Annually, then, it was at least 534,000 tonnes a year. This was a very rough estimate, as the information is difficult to find. We will take that as a guide, until we can update these figures. It would help if Fonterra provided it themselves on their page, right? They’ve even signed a confidentiality agreement with the Government to stop people finding out. Hiding something?

Every one of the projects below, and on the new coal page, has been announced with great fanfare, with media happily regurgitating Fonterra’s spin, rarely stopping to think about what the company could have done, or how big any of these moves are. So here’s a breakdown of the main points on that page.

Fonterra:

We’re electrifying our Stirling site in Otago. By moving to electricity, coal use will be reduced by just under 10,000 tonnes per year (the equivalent weight of 122 Boeing 737 800’s).

CANA comment
Fonterra is desperate to find something big to compare this with. Oh, planes are big. The reality: at 11.3 MW, the boiler at Fonterra’s Stirling site is its smallest. In terms of a percentage of Fonterra’s coal use? The 9400 tonnes it’s saving is just 1.7%. Not nearly as impressive as jumbo jets. And the conversion, Fonterra says, will take a few years to complete.

Fonterra:

Our Brightwater site near Nelson has switched to co-firing biomass, helping reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent, or about the same as taking 530 cars off the road.

CANA Comment
Brightwater is home to a massive horticultural area and Fonterra’s factory is right next to a timber mill: there is so much biomass available, the company could easily access enough for a full, 100% switch to a clean boiler like the one at Burwood Hospital. Photo of burwood boiler? It’d also help clean up the air: Brightwater is Nelson’s most air-polluted area.


And the cars? New Zealand has 3.6 million cars, so the 530 is 0.014% of our car fleet. Slow clap, Fonterra. Perhaps the worst thing is that Fonterra didn’t even pay for this conversion: the taxpayer did, through an EECA grant. The taxpayer stumped up about half. Fonterra got a ton of fawning media, complete with a Ministerial visit. The inside of Burwood Hospital’s state of the art biomass boiler.

Fonterra:

We’re trialing (sic) fuelling our Te Awamutu site with woodchips, which could reduce our carbon emissions by around 84,000 tonnes per year, or about the same as taking 18,500 cars off the road.

CANA Comment
Jeanette Fitzsimons broke this down in our blog. Yes, it’s a step forward. But it’s only a trial, right? Take home message? Fonterra’s boiler at Te Awamutu accounts for about 8% of its coal use. 92% – or another 231,250 cars’ worth of coal – to go.

Fonterra:

We’ve given-up our mining permit at Mangatangi in the Waikato and sold nearly 50 percent of the land acquired there for coal mining (296 hectares).

CANA comment
Fonterra realised, after many protests from local Iwi and concerned citizens, that it wasn’t a good look to be an actual coal miner, especially with a mine that would have been right beside the main highway to Tauranga. On many long weekends, activists from Auckland Coal Action hung banners off bridges on that highway alerting the traffic-jammed drivers to Fonterra’s proposed mine.


In 2015 Fonterra managed to persuade then owner of the nearby Kopako coal mine, Solid Energy, to re-open it. In February that year CANA announced the end of the Mangatangi mine for Fonterra, but they were quick to deny it, saying it had only been deferred. They finally admitted it in September 2015, telling local residents it was “on hold.”Auckland Coal Action protest Fonterra’s proposed Mangatangi coal mine.

Three years later in 2018 Fonterra’s spin doctors come up with a great new announcement: “we gave up our coal mining permit”. Very forward-looking, sounds great, right? All Fonterra did was save money – it didn’t use any less coal. And saved a lot of nightmares for the image of it being a coal miner.

And in terms of its contribution to climate change from all this coal burning? Fonterra has even managed to persuade the Government to give it free allocations of carbon credits, so it doesn’t even have to pay the price of its pollution.

Enough of the spin cycle, Fonterra, let’s see some real action. Us taxpayers are sick of footing your dirty bills.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Hope For Nature: A New Deal For The Commons

Joseph Cederwall on The Dig: The disruption and destruction of the interconnected biodiversity of Earth is the most serious challenge humanity has ever faced. This is an ecosystem emergency on an extinction scale. It is also a serious threat to the inherent rights of the diversity of non-human life, ecosystems and human Cultures on Earth to exist and thrive. The current global paradigm is devastating life everywhere by disrupting vital “ecosystem services” like the food, water, and climate regulation systems that both humanity and biodiversity depend on in an interconnected balance. It is increasingly clear that the primary driver of this crisis is the limiting and infectious worldview around land and resource use so central to the global capitalist system. To fully understand the biodiversity crisis and explore what comes next, it is necessary to address this mind-virus at the heart of our modern civilisation – the dominion worldview. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Farming Sector’s Persecution Complex

The narrative that our farmers are ‘doing it tough’ plays into a number of wellworn stereotypes ... More>>

ALSO:

corrections, prisonCorrections: Independent Review Of Prisoner Mail Management

The independent review into the prisoner mail system has today been released, with Corrections accepting all 13 recommendations and making a number of changes to strengthen the management of prisoner mail. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Unlawful Detention Of Teenager; Influence Of Investigation

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that former Inspector Hurimoana Dennis unlawfully detained an Auckland teenager in 2015, and improperly influenced the outcome of a criminal investigation into his own son in 2014. More>>

ALSO:

SOP For Gun Bill: New Measures For Modified Pistols

The new controls will • Prohibit short-barrelled semi-automatic rifles which currently are defined as pistols because they are shorter than 762 millimetres. • Introduce tighter controls over pistol carbine conversion kits… • Prohibit firearms which contain a part known as a centrefire lower receiver… More>>

'Culturally Arranged Visitors Visa': Fix For Marriage Visa Issue

Earlier this year Immigration New Zealand issued guidance to front line Immigration staff that made it significantly harder for people to get visas to visit their partner. That guidance no longer applies with today’s announcement. More>>

ALSO:

Conflict Of Interest For Key Member: Budget Data Breach Investigation Shut Down

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has today terminated the investigation into how Budget-sensitive material was accessed at the Treasury and appointed a new inquirer. More>>

RNZ Report: Mysterious Foundation Loaning NZ First Money

A mysterious foundation that loans money to New Zealand First is under scrutiny, with a university law professor saying although it's lawful, it fails to provide the transparency voters need in a democracy. More>>

Justice: Criminal Cases Review Commission Established

“We’ve seen how our justice system can very occasionally get things spectacularly wrong, even with rights of appeals, and there needs to be a chance for the innocent on the right grounds to seek a final review of their case...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels