Thursday, October 11, 2007

[PBN] NZ: Greens plead for biofuel sustainability standards


Biofuel change ensures food not taken from hungry
Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 4:13 pm
Press Release: Green Party
9 October 2007
Green biofuel change ensures food not taken from the hungry

The Green Party has negotiated a very important amendment to the
Biofuel Bill tabled in Parliament today to ensure production of the
fuel does not impact food supply and the environment.

To qualify to meet the biofuel sales obligation, fuel will have to
meet a sustainability standard, prescribed by Order in Council,
showing that it does not impinge on food production or cause undue
environmental harm.

"Biofuel could make a worthwhile contribution to New Zealand's efforts
to reduce dependence on oil and to reduce carbon emissions," Co-Leader
Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"However not all biofuels are environmentally sound. The Green Party
is totally opposed to the clearing of old growth tropical rainforest,
the last refuge of many endangered species such as the orangutan, to
plant oil palm trees for biodiesel, as is happening in South East

"We are also deeply concerned at the use of food grains such as corn
to make ethanol. This is already forcing up the price of food in poor
countries and will lead to even worse starvation in Africa.

Just last week the United Nations warned that international wheat
prices had hit record highs during the past three months pushing the
domestic price of bread and other basic foods in poor countries beyond
the reach of many locals.

"In a competitive market, the motor vehicles of the developed
countries will always be able to outbid the stomachs of the very
poor," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"I am delighted that the New Zealand Government has agreed not to go
down that path.

"In the end, there is a limit to how much one limited resource, oil,
can be replaced by another, namely high quality food producing land.
The most sustainable sources of biofuel in New Zealand will be first
of all wastes or low value by-products, such as tallow and whey, and
then second generation biofuel such as cellulosic ethanol from wood,
which can be grown on second class land without extra water or
nitrogen, or biodiesel from algae grown on sewage ponds," Ms
Fitzsimons says.



Challenges for producers, households under energy plan
By VERNON SMALL - The Dominion Post | Thursday, 11 October 2007

The Government has outlined its long-term plan for energy generation
and efficiency, including restrictions on fossil fuel generation,
gas-guzzling cars, and moves to make homes warmer and drier.
Energy plan short circuits Rodney project

Energy Minister David Parker said the strategy responded to two
challenges - to fight climate change emissions and secure clean and
affordable energy.

Ministers would tell state owned generators there was no need for new
baseload fossil fuel generation for the next ten years. They would
also consider regulations under the Electricity Act to apply the ten
year limit to private companies, such as Contact Energy, as well.

"The Government expects all generators ... to take its views into
account when considering new generation investments and the Government
will advise state-owned enterprises that it expects them to follow
this guidance," the strategy states.

A national policy statement on renewable energy would be developed in
2008 that would give guidance on resource consents but not make it
mandatory to approve renewable projects.

He said renewable generation plans should not go ahead at any cost,
and he foresaw more wind generation and geothermal power rather than
new hydro development.

Rules would be put in place on the importation of new and used cars to
ensure they are 25 per cent more fuel efficient by 2015 than those
imported at present.

It would see a large increase in the number of diesel vehicles and is
expected to save motorists 4.8 billion litres of fuel by 2025.

That would see efficiency gains of 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres
travelled by petrol cars and 6.5 litres per 100km for diesel vehicles.

Funding already included in the last Budget will see 180,000 homes get
insulation, clean heat and solar hot water upgrades.

The total plan is expected to lead to cumulative savings on energy
bills of $2.7 billion by 2025.

Thought is also going into banning landlords from renting properties
without adequate insulation and heating.

The energy efficiency strategy is expected to deliver non-transport
energy savings of 30 petajoules a year by 2025 - the same as the
electricity used by 30 cities the size of Nelson.

Ms Fitzsimons said the plans outline would help families, business and
travellers to save energy, money and emissions.

"On top of that, it will deliver significant health and environmental
benefits. The time for writing strategies is over - now its time for

Prime Minister Helen Clark said by developing a secure energy system
based on renewable, low-emission generation "we can improve the
quality of life for new Zealand families, drive the transformation of
our economy and cement in sustainability as a core part of New
Zealand's identity and value system".

National's energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee said there was a huge gap
between the Government's rhetoric and its record.

"Under Labour, the amount of renewable energy generated in New Zealand
has reached an all time low of 62 percent, while the amount of
electricity generated from coal has climbed from 4 percent to 12
percent," Mr Brownlee said.

Greenpeace were more welcoming of the strategy saying it was "a
massive stride in the right direction".

New Zealand First energy spokesman Peter Brown welcomed some of the
proposals but said he was concerned that electricity costs might rise
too high.

- with NZPA

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