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Fossil Free Dunedin? Bring it On

Today around 150 Dunedin people, led by climate action group 350 Dunedin and joined by Oil Free Otago, Seniors Climate Action Network, Wise Response and Generation Zero, met in the Octagon to demand a stop to new fossil fuel exploration in their region and a faster transition to a fossil free city. They joined more than 900 registered groups around the world in a Rise for Climate event, calling for a faster transition to 100% renewable energy.

“Today was about celebrating what we have achieved in Dunedin towards a fossil free city” said spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden, “but it was also about demanding more. Governments are not acting fast enough, so people all over the world are stepping up to take the lead.”

The Labour government has banned new oil and gas exploration permits but two companies, NZ Oil and Gas, owned by a Singaporean company OG Oil and Gas, and Austrian based oil giant OMV, still intend to drill in the Canterbury and Great South Basin.

“Our message today to the oil companies wanting to drill in the Southern ocean was loud and clear: Even if the government won’t stop you, the people will.” said Ms Penwarden.

The group also called for an end to the sponsorship and funding of Dunedin community groups by fossil fuel companies. “We intend to take the social license away from these companies. They do not belong in a fossil free Dunedin. For example, did you know that NZ Oil and Gas (NZOG) was funding Dunedin Cosy Homes Trust? Today we launched a petition asking the Cosy Homes Trustees to drop NZOG as a funder. We love the work of the Cosy Homes Trust and want to help them find an appropriate replacement funder of their work. For the health of our children and most vulnerable, we must stop cosying up to oil and gas.”

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