What's wrong with deep sea oil?

The part oil has played in modern human history, how oil can’t have any part in our future, if there’s to be one … and what the alternative is.

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The problem

Our hundred year reliance on oil is at a turning point. The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico put the spotlight on the far reaching consequences that our addiction to oil is having on the natural world and on the climate.

Today, oil is being used to power most of our vehicles, making us all dependent on it in some way - to get our food, to see our loved ones or to go on holiday. There are millions of cars, buses, trucks, ships and planes moving around our cities, our country, oceans and skies, connecting people and moving stuff around the world. But all of these vehicles need millions of gallons of oil to keep them going every day. And that’s taking a toll on the air we breathe, on our energy security, our economy, the environment and our climate.

But the giant oil fields that the industry hoped would last forever are starting to run dry. Faced with increasing restraints on access to the easy oil, companies are pushing in to areas previously considered too inaccessible, expensive or too risky to exploit. And this means going to greater and greater extremes to squeeze the last drops of oil from the earth - scraping the barrel in the tar sands of Canada, potentially violating the fragile ecosystems of the Arctic and now the pristine coastlines of New Zealand

This map shows current and proposed areas of oil exploration, drilling, and coal mining, and the climate-changing potential of those coal deposits. *The size of the oil deposits – and so the amount of potential CO2 emissions - within the new permit areas and block offers is not yet known.

If these places are exploited, and the oil burnt, we will be on track for a six degree rise in global average temperatures. Two degrees is generally accepted by scientists and governments as the tipping point of dangerous climate change. Scientists say a rise of six degrees in average global temperatures would have cataclysmic and irreversible consequences for the planet and threaten our very survival. This is the path we are on right now. But if we transform our transport and energy systems this doesn’t have to be the pathway we follow.

At the moment, millions of dollars of our money is going into subsidising risky oil, and keeping us stuck in the oil age. Our governments are propping up the oil companies with tax breaks and subsidies, and they’re allowing oil companies to exploit our natural world. In the long run, our addiction to oil will cost us far more.

If we do nothing, climate change will cost us around 20% of total gross domestic product (GDP) over the next half century. That's more than the cost of both world wars and the great depression put together. But if we act now to mitigate it, the cost would only be about one per cent of total economic growth. That's the same amount of money we spend on global advertising. Surely our survival is more important than billboards and TV adverts.

The latest updates

 

Stop Statoil

Image gallery | December 10, 2014

The Arctic Sunrise, her journey continues

Blog entry by Arin de Hoog | November 22, 2014

Last Saturday, the ecologically pristine area around the Canary Islands was the watery stage of the next chapter in the story of the Arctic Sunrise. Last year, she carried Greenpeace activists across icy waters North of Russia, where...

Shell Oil Cowboys Caught Drilling Illegally in New Zealand

Blog entry by Nathan Argent | October 23, 2014

“There be trouble in town sheriff, some cowboys is coming into town”. It could be a line from a grainy old western from our childhood (well, mine anyway) when the good, clean living people of a well to do town see trouble on a dusty...

The Berlin Wall of oil begins to crumble

Blog entry by Steve Abel | October 7, 2014

The Berlin wall was a symbol of the Soviet era like no other.  When it was finally dismantled in 1989 it signalled the end of a system that had stood for nearly 70 years.  A system that shaped the political landscape of the 20th...

A week of Protest #StopStatoil

Image gallery | September 30, 2014

Norway in sneak attack on the Arctic

Blog entry by Sune Scheller | August 22, 2014

The Esperanza has been in Svalbard, in the Arctic, for a few weeks now and we recently became aware of something urgent and disturbing. A seismic company called Dolphin Geophysical, commissioned by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, ...

How the peaceful protest at Prirazlomnaya made positive change in Russia

Blog entry by Maria Favorskaya | August 18, 2014

The dramatic Greenpeace International action at Prirazlomnaya in September 2013 is mostly infamous for causing a lot of problems for the 28 activists, two freelance journalists and the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. But what media...

Dear LEGO employees...

Blog entry by Ian Duff | July 23, 2014

Hi. My name is Ian and I'm a campaigner with Greenpeace. I'm also a new dad and a big fan of LEGO. She's a little young now, but I know that in a few years my baby girl will be building her own dreams out of your colourful little...

Are big companies using spurious copyright claims to try to stop our viral film...

Blog entry by James Turner | July 13, 2014

This week we released a short creative film which explores the relationship between Shell and LEGO, the world's most popular toy company. We're calling on LEGO to ditch its co-branding deal with Shell, a company that wants to drill in...

LEGO: Everything is NOT awesome

Blog entry by Sara Ayech | July 9, 2014

Yesterday we released a  new video  asking much-loved toy company, LEGO to ditch its partnership with oil company Shell. The film depicts an Arctic made entirely of LEGO and imagines an oil spill in this beautiful and pristine part of...

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