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Greenpeace says the Government’s Vision for Hydrogen, launched today, could be a good step forward on the road towards a cleaner energy system for New Zealand, but warns of several potential pitfalls in the strategy.
“We’re in the middle of a climate emergency and what’s needed is strong leadership to move us away from dependence on the dirty oil, coal and gas fuels that are causing this crisis,” says Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson.
“Hydrogen made using clean, renewable electricity would play an important part in that transition. We’re encouraging the Government to support a large-scale roll out of more wind and solar energy across New Zealand.
“Today’s announcement appears to show the Government taking leadership in the face of the climate emergency, but as ever, the devil will be in the detail.
“While the strategy clearly indicates a preference for green hydrogen, it appears to leave the door open for development of so-called ‘blue hydrogen’ which is made from natural gas and uses controversial carbon capture and storage technology.
“Natural gas is a fossil fuel that contributes to climate change and no government support should go towards hydrogen production from fossil fuels,” says Larsson.
Greenpeace is also alarmed that the strategy suggests using hydrogen to ramp up the production of ammonia and/or urea fertilisers.
“Regardless of whether synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is made using green hydrogen or natural gas, it is still a major climate polluter that drives intensive dairying.
“To deal with the climate crisis, and protect our rivers, the Government should phase out the production and use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser altogether and support farmers to transition to regenerative farming practices.
“When it comes to climate change, winning slowly is the same as losing. We need to see the Government ruling out polluting industries and backing more ambitious plans for renewable energy and regenerative farming in New Zealand,” says Larsson.