New Zealand Ends New Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration
The Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Act passed its third reading in Parliament on Wednesday with 63 votes in favor and 55 against, New Zealand Herald reported.
"New Zealanders want to see a future for their country where we take action on climate change" Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods said at the third reading. "Where we have a long-term economic plan for our country, where we have the courage to look beyond the three-year political cycle and plan for the next 10, 20, 30 and 40 years."
The bill will preserve existing exploration permits, an area that covers roughly 100,000 square kilometers, Woods noted.
"Those permit holders will have the same rights and privileges that they do before this legislation comes into force," she said.
Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill - Third Reading - Video 1 www.youtube.com
"The whole world is going in this direction," Ardern said then. "We all signed up to the Paris agreement that said we're moving towards carbon-neutrality, and now we need to act on it."
Ardern continued, "Nothing will change overnight. These existing permits have very long lead times. We'll be seeing oil and gas exploration for a number of years to come. And the jobs—the four-and-a-half thousand jobs in this industry—will continue too."
"But we're putting a line in the sand and saying, now it's our job to plan for the future," she said. "We will make sure we've got that transition plan in place, and what the future of clean, green, carbon-neutral New Zealand looks like."
The government has pledged to power the country's grid with 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 and aims to become carbon neutral by 2050.
This is a HUGE WIN for people power, and for the climate. It's a law New Zealand should be proud of, but it's also… https://t.co/tcXwvAcyIA— Greenpeace NZ (@Greenpeace NZ)1541573451.0
Greenpeace celebrated the legislation's passing and said it had "overwhelming public support." A government committee for the environment received more than 7,000 submissions on the bill, with around 85 percent in support of it or saying that it did not go far enough to tackle climate change, the organization said.
"Today we have passed an incredibly important law for the global climate. This law means that around four million square kilometers of the Earth's surface is now off limits to oil and gas companies, and any deposits under our deep seas will stay in the ground where they belong," Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Kate Simcock said in a press release.
"The science is very clear—we only have 10 years to halve our use of oil, gas, and coal or face the displacement of millions of people, catastrophic sea level rise, more extreme weather, and mass species extinction. That's going to mean massive change—not business as usual—and we need to be prepared to take bold steps like this to protect humanity and the planet," Simcock added.
The center-right National Party was opposed to the bill and pledged to reverse the ban if back in government. The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) also spoke against the legislation.
"The people most affected by this decision haven't been listened to and now face real uncertainty," PEPANZ CEO Cameron Madgwick said in a press release. "We need natural gas as a transition fuel towards a lower carbon economy. Turning off the tap when we have nothing concrete to replace it with is dangerous and irresponsible."
Today we changed the law, banning new offshore oil and gas drilling. This is such a great win for our oceans and ou… https://t.co/hMhP7VPOIk— Green Party NZ (@Green Party NZ)1541567230.0
By Simon Montlake
For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.
All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.
Moderates Feeling the Heat<p>If elected, Mr. Biden has vowed to stop new drilling for oil and gas on federal land and in federal waters and to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump gave notice of quitting. He would reinstate Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, the largest component of natural gas.</p><p>The Biden climate platform also states that all federal infrastructure investments and federal permits would need to be assessed for their climate impacts. Analysts say such a test could impede future LNG plants and pipelines, though not those that already have federal approval. </p><p>Climate change activists who pushed for that language say much depends on who would have oversight of federal agencies that regulate the industry. Some are wary of Biden's reliance on advice from Obama-era officials, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is now on the board of Southern Company, a utility, and a former Obama environmental aide, Heather Zichal, who has served on the board of Cheniere Energy, an LNG exporter. </p>
The Push for U.S. Fuel Exports<p>As vice president, Biden was part of an administration that pushed hard for global climate action while also promoting U.S. oil and gas exports to its allies and trading partners. As fracking boomed, Obama ended a 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In Europe, LNG was touted both as an alternative to coal and as strategic competition with Russian pipelines.</p><p>That much, at least, continued with President Trump. Under Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency referred to liquified U.S. hydrocarbons as "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/freedom-gas-energy-department.html" target="_blank">freedom gas</a>."</p><p>Mr. Trump has also championed the interests of coal, oil, and gas while denigrating the findings of government climate scientists. He rejected the Paris accord as unfair to the U.S. and detrimental to its economy, but has offered no alternative path to emissions cuts. </p><p>Still, Trump's foreign policy has not always served the LNG industry: Tariffs on foreign steel drove up pipeline costs, and a trade war with China stayed the hand of Chinese LNG importers wary of reliance on U.S. suppliers. </p><p>Even his regulatory rollbacks could be a double-edged sword. By relaxing curbs last month on methane leaks, the U.S. has ceded ground to European regulators who are drafting emissions standards that LNG producers are watching closely. "That's a precursor of fights that will be fought in all the rest of the developed world," says Mr. Hutchison. </p><p>Indeed, some oil-and-gas exporters had urged the Trump administration not to abandon the tougher rules, since they undercut their claim to offer a cleaner-burning way of producing heat and electricity. "U.S. LNG is not going to be able to compete in a world that's focused on methane emissions and intensity," says Erin Blanton, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. </p>
Stepping on the Gas<p>In July, the Department of Energy issued an export license to Jordan Cove's developer, Canada's Pembina Pipeline Corp. In a statement, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the project would provide "reliable, affordable, and cleaner-burning natural gas to our allies around the world."</p><p>As a West Coast terminal, Jordan Cove offers a faster route to Asia where its capacity of 7.8 million tons of LNG a year could serve to heat more than 15 million homes. At its peak, its construction would also create 6,000 jobs, the company says, in a stagnant corner of Oregon.</p><p>But the project still lacks multiple local and state permits, and its biggest asset – a Pacific port – has become its biggest handicap, says Ms. Blanton. "They are putting infrastructure in a state where there's no political support for the pipeline or the terminal, unlike in Louisiana or Texas," she says. </p><p>Ms. Brown, the environmental lawyer, says she wants to see Jordan Cove buried, not just mothballed until natural gas prices recover. But she knows that it's only one among many LNG projects and that others will likely get built, even if Biden is elected in November, despite growing evidence of the harm caused by methane emissions. </p>
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