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Oil and Gas – An Innovative and Ethical Industry?

Oil and Gas – An Innovative and Ethical Industry?

“As the oil and gas CEOs suit up in New Plymouth this week for their ENEX
conference, we ask just how much social discontent and safety concerns
would it take for the industry and our governments to halt this mad rush
for fossil fuels?” says Catherine Cheung, Climate Justice Taranaki

“As Mayor Harry Duynhoven welcomes delegates, stating ‘record levels of
onshore and offshore exploration … a landscape of much potential … spirit
of innovation …’, we ask just how much more does the industry want to
exploit and pollute our land, water and air? How innovative exactly is
dumping toxic drilling wastes on farmland where cows will graze? Is it
safe? Is it ethical?”

Since humans started burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas on a
large scale, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have dramatically increased from
280 ppm to 400 ppm. The last time this happened was 3-5 million years ago
and global temperatures “reached 3-4 degrees C higher than today's and as
much as 10 degrees C warmer at the poles. Sea level ranged between 5 and
40 meters higher than today,” according to the Scripps Institute of

While CO2 absorption and release have always varied through natural
processes, all credible scientific organizations agree that the recent
steep rise in CO2 levels is primarily caused by humans burning fossil

As Prof. James Hansen, earth and environmental scientist of Columbia
University reminds us, “Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is
happening. It would be immoral to leave young people with a climate system
spiraling out of control.”

“If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from that
wreckage,” says Bill McKibben, renowned author and environmentalist.

“The solutions – reducing energy consumption, energy efficiency and
renewable energy – are here. But they are being sidelined by our
governments and of course, the oil and gas industry – they want to stay
rich at the expense of our planet and those who live close to the land and
sea. It is the farmers, fisherfolk, the poor and future generations who
will suffer the most from the effects of climate change.

There is a groundswell of public awakening and discontent about the havoc
that the industry is causing, mostly on safety and cultural grounds. It is
increasingly apparent that drilling companies do not have a social licence
to operate in Taranaki and elsewhere in the country. The Parliamentary
Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) recognised this when she stated
that “a 'social licence' for fracking has yet to be earned” in her report
last year.

Climate Justice Taranaki urges everyone to take a stand, speak out, write
to the PCE, the central government, regional and district councils and
energy companies, tell them that we don’t want to continue down this path,
demand an immediate stop to further fossil fuel exploration and support
for a sustainable energy future instead,” concludes Cheung.


Climate Justice Taranaki


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