Govt must put search for new oil on hold after release of “disturbing” MfE climate report
Thursday, October 19: Greenpeace is calling for the new Government to put an urgent moratorium on new oil exploration after a national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ has revealed soaring climate emissions and rising seas.
The report, Our Atmosphere and Climate 2017, shows just how much climate change is now affecting New Zealand, which has experienced a 1°C temperature increase since 1909.
Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, says among the most concerning findings are that our iconic glaciers have shrunk by a quarter since 1977, and sea levels have risen up to 22 centimetres at four main ports in New Zealand since 1916.
The report also found that while agriculture makes up nearly half of NZ gross emissions, road transport has seen one of the largest increases in emissions, with a massive 78% increase since 1990.
“It’s highly disturbing that while many developed countries have seen their carbon emissions flatten and begin to decline, our net greenhouse gas emissions have actually risen by 64 percent between 1990 and 2015,” Norman says.
“We have a mammoth emissions problem in New Zealand. We have the secondhighest level of emissions per gross domestic product unit of the 35 OECD countries, and the fifthhighest emissions per capita
“This report is an opportunity for us to have a national conversation about how we’re going to start reversing these statistics so we can pass on a safe climate to our kids. A new Government must lead this discussion.
“A basic first step is to halt the upcoming Block Offer process this year, where petroleum companies are invited to search our land and sea for new oil. We know that most of the fossil fuel reserves that have been found need to stay in the ground if we are to avoid climate catastrophe – searching for more is madness.”
Before the elections, both Labour and New Zealand First stated they would like to see proper public consultation over the Block Offer process, which currently allows only for local council and iwi to make submissions.
Norman says given the seriousness of the MfE and Stats NZ report, the entire process should be put on hold.
“There is simply no bigger threat to the people of New Zealand, our environment, infrastructure, or economy than climate change,” he says.
“We’re an island nation in the middle of the Pacific and our unique natural environment is central to our way of life. We’re made up of a diverse range of communities, many of which are coastal.
“Climate change must be the key issue for the new Government. It’s an existential threat to all aspects of our society and way of life, and we need an all-of-government and all-of-society approach to tackle it.”