This week, a flotilla of yachts will be leaving our shores and heading out to the deep waters off the coast of Raglan. Their purpose: to protest at Texan oil giant Anadarko’s plans to drill an exploratory well in our backyard.
This is the moment that the dangerous act of drilling in depths of up to 3 kilometers of water and the risks to our coastlines and economy become a reality. The relentless drive by oil companies to go to the deepest, darkest depths, and pristine regions like the Arctic and our seas is simply to allow oil executives to continue to profit from pollution. And they have the blessing of the industry’s spin doctor and climate change Minister Simon Bridges.
Yes, that’s right, our man who’s supposed to be leading our efforts to reduce pollution has been doing secret deals with the most polluting industry on the planet to make it easier for them to pollute some more. Go figure.
As world leaders and top scientists gather in Poland to hammer out a plan for reducing our emissions, the rich nations’ energy think-tank, the International Energy Agency (IEA), has published its latest assessment of the future of the world’s energy markets. And it makes for sobering reading.
If we want to avoid an increase in the types of devastating storms we’ve witnessed in the Phillipines then about three quarters of the world's proven but not yet in production oil reserves will have to remain...untapped. Indeed much of the Arctic's oil is not even proven, and certainly not 'in production'.
And neither is the stuff that Anadarko and Simon Bridges want to drill for.
By anyone’s measure, this isn’t sensible or smart.
The ‘oil free seas’ flotilla that’s heading out to meet Anadarko carry with them a powerful message: that we have a choice. We can continue to pollute the air we breathe, risk the seas we swim in and threaten our coastlines or we could choose a cleaner, safer way of creating jobs and boosting our economy. Kiwis are good at doing clean energy, we’re world class at innovation and we have the expertise to deliver the solutions to the world’s environmental problems.
Where our leaders fail us, in the face of compelling evidence, it falls upon the brave and committed sailors to stand up in the name of common sense. They are there because they believe that we deserve a cleaner, smarter economy that’s built by Kiwis and owned my Kiwis, not one that lines the pockets of overseas oil barons.