Jacinda Ardern refuses to stop deep sea oil "nuclear bomb"

Press release - September 12, 2017
Greenpeace has slammed Labour leader Jacinda Ardern for refusing to rule out new deep sea oil drilling, despite comparing climate change to our nuclear-free moment a few weeks ago.

Ardern made the comments to Radio NZ host Guyon Espiner this morning, after questions about whether she would commit to the Green’s policy of no new oil and gas drilling.

Greenpeace climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says Ardern doesn’t seem to have an understanding about the drivers of climate change.

“If climate change is our nuclear free moment, then oil, coal and gas are the nuclear bombs. Today Jacinda had an opportunity to walk the talk, but she failed,” she says.

“The science is clear - we can’t afford to burn the majority of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves if we want to avoid climate catastrophe, let alone search for more. All new deep sea oil reserves need to stay in the ground if we want to keep warming below two degrees. Ending new deep sea oil drilling in New Zealand is the most basic first step you can take when it comes to climate action.”

Simcock says she was shocked at Ardern’s reasoning for wanting to continue deep sea oil drilling in New Zealand.

“Jacinda’s comments make no sense. She says she won’t rule out new deep sea oil drilling because she wants to make sure we have a ‘just-transition’. But the question is - a just transition for whom? We’re talking about big foreign oil companies bringing seismic blasting and drill ships ships here with their own people, to search for oil at some of the most extreme depths in the world,” she says.

“The companies snooping around our shores, like Statoil and Chevron, are almost single handedly responsible for what’s happening to our climate. They're named in the list of 100 companies in the world that are causing 71% of climate change[1].”

“We’re not talking about the local onshore or shallow water industry in Taranaki, which will need a just transition.

“Jacinda seems to lack an understanding of these issues. We don’t need ‘advice’ to tell us that oil, coal and gas are the drivers of climate change and need to be kept in the ground - it’s unequivocal.

“Deep sea oil is not a domestic emissions question that we can kick to a Climate Commission. It's an urgent moral question. We can say yes to the science that says this is the oil we must leave in the ground if we want to protect humanity, or we can continue letting these oil giants put our lives and oceans at risk.”

During the interview, Ardern also refused to rule out an end to new coal mines - the dirtiest fuel on the planet - and advocated a transition to gas, another fossil fuel.

Greenpeace has provided a list of key things that the next Government must do to meet the challenge of climate change.