Protesters disrupt petroleum meeting
22 May 2019
Protesters disrupt petroleum meeting calling sponsor ANZ ‘two-faced’ over climate change commitments.
Twelve activists from climate action group 350 Aotearoa have disrupted a Petroleum Club meeting in New Plymouth. The group targeted event sponsors, ANZ, in a bid to highlight the discrepancies between the bank’s public statements on climate change and its support of the fossil fuel industry.
The group entered the Petroleum Club event dressed as ANZ staff and set off personal alarms to disrupt conference proceedings. They held ANZ branded billboards quoting climate change commitments made by the bank alongside figures related to the bank’s investments in fossil fuels.
One sarcastic sign read ‘ANZ believe in setting public targets to hold ourselves accountable and lower our greenhouse gas emissions. That is why we only offset 0.07% of the emissions we enable through fossil fuel investments.’
“It’s deceitful of the bank to make public commitments about climate change and claim to support the transition to a decarbonised economy when at the same time it is sponsoring events that promote the expansion of the fossil fuel industry,” said Niamh O’Flynn, Executive Director of 350 Aotearoa.
“ANZ is downplaying its complicity in the climate crisis. The risk climate breakdown poses is too great for such blatant two-faced behaviour. It is not acceptable to make claims that the bank is socially and environmentally responsible when it so actively promotes fossil fuel expansion through sponsorship and investments,” said O’Flynn.
According to a report released by 350 Aotearoa in November 2018, ANZ loaned over AUD$7.4 billion to oil, gas and coal projects between 2015-2017.
Today’s surprise visit to the Petroleum Club was not a first. In 2016, 350 Aotearoa campaigned for ANZ to drop the banks Gold Sponsorship of the annual Petroleum Conference. In response, the bank has not sponsored the Petroleum Conference since.
O’Flynn said the group had the support of a growing movement of New Zealanders concerned about the impact their banks have in fuelling the climate crisis. “We’re here to hold ANZ to account. Banks should expect that such hypocrisy will be met with critique”
The protest is part of a global Fossil Free movement by 350.org calling on institutions and banks to act on climate change by divesting its money from coal, oil, and gas in a moral stand against the fossil fuel industry.