Tuesday, 24 September - Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has delivered a fiery speech to world leaders at the UN Climate Summit in New York City. Greenpeace says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern must take note, and respond with stronger action on climate change, starting with an immediate cancelation of OMV’s oil exploration permits.
Thunberg called out politicians for failing to show up with the necessary ambition and leadership. She said:
"For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight."
"You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was the first politician to speak at the summit following Greta Thunberg’s impassioned speech.
"While Jacinda Ardern’s leadership has represented a shift in the right direction for climate change policy in New Zealand, Greta’s words ring true here too. It is nowhere near enough," said Greenpeace Executive Director Russel Norman.
"An appropriate response to the climate emergency would include a commitment to immediately end new fossil fuel exploration on land and at sea, alongside a timeline for rapidly winding down the coal, oil and gas industries," he said.
Last year, the Government announced a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits in response to a decade of public pressure. However, a decision was made not to revoke permits released before the ban.
One of those permit holders, Austrian oil company OMV, will begin exploratory oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Taranaki and Dunedin this summer. It’s the first time exploratory drilling has taken place in New Zealand in more than five years.
Greenpeace is also calling for immediate action to curb emissions from New Zealand’s biggest polluters, the dairy and agricultural industries.
"If this Government is serious about climate action, it must halve the herd, ban synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and invest significantly in a shift to more plant-based regenerative farming.
"Land and how it’s used can either be a cause of the climate crisis or a solution to it.
"Either we continue on with industrial dairying and we worsen the climate crisis, or this Government can make the right choice; to halve the herd, drive a nationwide transition to plant-based regenerative farming and increase native afforestation," said Norman.
Inspired by school strikers, millions of people took to the streets last Friday to demand action on climate change. The strikes will continue this Friday with mass mobilisations in more than 20 centres across New Zealand.