The Green Party launched a campaign on Friday to stop the proposed construction of a new gas-fired power plant in South Waikato that would increase greenhouse gas emissions, causing climate change. Nova Energy has applied for resource consents to build a gas-burning power plant near Otorohanga. I’m asking Environment Minister Nick Smith to “call in” the application on the grounds that burning more fossil fuels will affect New Zealand’s obligations under the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and then decline Nova’s application.
The National Government needs to show it takes climate change seriously and stop new fossil fuel power plants from being built. At this time in history the choice should be easy: investing in clean, renewable energy, not building new power plants that burn dirty fracked gas and cause climate change. We simply don’t need to burn more fossil fuels when there’s almost 4000 MW of renewable generation consented and ready to be built, and smarter ways to use and conserve power.
This gas plant will increase New Zealand’s carbon emissions by an estimated 425,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. To give a sense of the scale, it would take 16,989 hectares of new forest planted to suck up that extra carbon pollution. At Paris, we pledged to reduce emissions but since then instead we’ve seen Huntly re-commit to burning coal for electricity, the industry attack solar, and ineffectual electric vehicle policies rolled out. We have a wealth of solutions and can reduce emissions while growing good jobs.
I believe all New Zealanders deserve a say on this dirty gas project, but they won’t get that because only directly affected neighbours will be able to submit on the ‘limited notification’ consent application and even then climate change can’t be proeprly considered under the current law.