Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Climate Change: End fossil fuels now

When the government banned new offshore gas exploration permits, it was denounced as radical by the National party and their polluter cronies. But now the policy has had a powerful endorsement from an unlikely source: the International Energy Agency:

Exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year and no new coal-fired power stations can be built if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating and meet the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the world’s leading energy organisation has said.

In its strongest warning yet on the need to drastically scale back fossil fuels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) also called for no new fossil-fuel cars to be sold beyond 2035, and for global investment in energy to more than double from $2tn (£1.42tn) a year to $5tn (£3.54tn) The result would not be an economic burden, as some have claimed, but a net benefit to the economy.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director and one of the world’s foremost energy economists, told the Guardian: “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year.”

The IEA are not what you'd think of as climate change activists. For years, they have predicted a future still dominated by coal and oil, underestimating the growth of renewable technologies and preferring to push for non-existent, magical carbon capture technology. So when they say "that's it, we need to turn off the tap" and predict a future runing on wind and solar, you'd expect governments to sit up and listen. ...including our government. Because while we've banned new offshore fossil fuel exploration permits, the existing ones will last for decades, and can still be converted into mining permits lasting for decades more. If we're serious about turning off this tap, we need to stop that, with legislation to revoke all exploration permits, prohibit new mining permits and resource consents, and sunset all existing mining permits and related consents. And we need to do this as quickly as possible. The Māori Party's anti-seabed mining legislation shows us the way to do this; will the government rise to the challenge?