Following the release of the International Energy Agency (IEA) ‘Net Zero Roadmap Update' yesterday, Greenpeace Aotearoa says that the National Party is out of touch with its promise to reverse the 2018 ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration. Greenpeace is calling on leader Christopher Luxon to heed the report’s warning and to ditch his policy of overturning the ban.
"Even the conservative International Energy Agency is clear that we cannot - and do not need to extract more oil and gas out of the ground," says Greenpeace climate campaigner Christine Rose.
"New Zealanders are watching in real time as climate disasters are unfolding here in Aotearoa and around the world. Scientists say we cannot afford to burn most of the oil and gas that we already know about, let alone go searching for more.
"The release of this IEA report is a strong signal that Christopher Luxon should show climate leadership by abandoning the National Party’s retrograde policy of bringing back offshore oil and gas exploration. This election, we need all political parties to commit to phasing out the polluting fossil fuels that are causing climate devastation around the world."
The IEA report, Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to Keep the 1.5 °C Goal in Reach - 2023 Update, is an update of their ‘Net Zero by 2050’ scenario published in 2021. The 2021 report famously concluded that no new oil and gas fields should be approved for development, as well as no new coal mines or mine extensions. It also included a pathway with many benchmarks for fossil fuel phase out and solutions phase in.
The updated report will feed into an IEA climate and energy summit, taking place in Madrid on 2 October, and to the COP28 climate conference in December 2023, where governments are expected to take decisions on speeding up the energy transition away from oil and gas.
"On top of the climate impacts of oil exploration, there’s also the harm to wildlife from seismic blasting and the additional risk of oil spills," says Rose.
"Exploration is the riskiest phase of oil development. Here in New Zealand, it also inevitably means deep water drilling which puts us at increased risk of a Deepwater Horizon scale disaster - one that New Zealand is completely unequipped to handle.
"Nobody wants to see oil spilling onto beaches and threatening precious marine wildlife. For the sake of the climate and the ocean, the National Party must drop its offshore oil drilling policy, and commit to ending fossil fuels for good."
Greenpeace, alongside more than fifty other organisations, is calling on all political parties to adopt ten key actions for a safe and stable climate and healthy environment - including action on fossil fuels. These are outlined in a plan known as Climate Shift. More than 15,000 New Zealanders have signed on in support of the plan since it launched in June.