"The current deepwater drilling rights sell-off around the country is typical of what needs to change. Deepwater drilling carries the risk of serious accident, as seen in the Gulf of Mexico, only makes climate change worse, and diverts resources away from the renewables sector, an area in which significant investment is now being made around the globe," says Greenpeace NZ Campaigns Director Carmen Gravatt.
Greenpeace is not calling for a boycott against BP, as this crisis goes well beyond a single oil company and the only way to prevent future disasters and avert dangerous climate change is for Government's to close the door on the fossil industry's lobbyists and adopt green policies based on renewable energy and clean technologies.
In 2008, the global investment in green energy eclipsed that of fossil fuels, attracting US$140bn compared with US$110bn for gas, coal and electricity.
"New Zealand's competitors are spending billions in order to become part of the Cleantech Revolution. We will miss out if this Government continues to think in 19th century economic terms," says Gravatt.
"Clean technology represents a huge economic opportunity that New Zealand simply can't afford to miss - a chance to achieve the sort of sustainable growth and a knowledge-led economy that will be the pillar of the 21st century green revolution. What we need from John Key's Government is a clear commitment to investing in clean technologies," she says.
Last Sunday Greenpeace NZ held an ' oily people' event at Auckland's Muriwai Beach. Greenpeace volunteers, dressed in their togs, covered themselves in fake oil (mainly molasses and water), to highlight the fact that Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee is intending to announce the awarding of further petroleum exploration permits by the end of August for oil in the Reinga and Northland coastal zones - which together cover 150,000 square kilometres, an area bigger than the whole of the North Island (1). The expected awarding of further permits to international oil companies is part of a dramatic escalation in planned deep sea oil drilling by the Government. In June this year the Brazilian owned Petrobras oil company was awarded an exploration permit off the East Cape.
"Gerry Brownlee has obviously not learnt from the Government's recent Schedule-4 fiasco. New Zealanders have told the Government that they do not want this country's valuable 'clean and green' reputation and way of life compromised for a short-term gain.
"A disaster on the scale of what is happening in the Gulf would bring New Zealand to its knees, and yet the Government is eyeing up drilling sites where the water is double the depth of the water at the site of the Gulf BP disaster," Gravatt says.
Fifteen thousand people have signed Greenpeace's online petition against any new offshore oil wells, and any expansion of coal mining operations, since the petition was launched four weeks ago.
EVERY BP PETROL STATION IN LONDON SHUT DOWN BY DIRECT ACTION
(2) The logo was designed as part of a Greenpeace competition which attracted over 2,500 entries and 2 million page views over a six week period. See www.greenpeace.org.uk/bp for more information.
(3) Alex D. Charpentier, Joule A. Bergerson, and Heather L. MacLean. Understanding the Canadian oil sands industry's greenhouse gas emissions, in Environmental Research Letters 1 (2009)
(4) http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/STAGING/global_assets/downloads/I/IC_bp_strategy_presentation_march_2010_slides.pdf p.67
Other contacts: For more information, moving and still vision of Greenpeace NZ's ‘oily people' event, and interviews, call: Carmen Gravatt, Greenpeace New Zealand Campaigns Director, 021 302 251. Jay Harkness, Greenpeace New Zealand Communications and Media Officer, 021 495 216.
Notes: NOTES: Greenpeace is calling for: An immediate ban on new offshore drilling and exploration of all high-risk unconventional oil sources (including in the Arctic and the Canadian tar sands) An end to fossil fuel subsidies and an increase in support for clean energy • Strong laws and policies that limit greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate a clean energy revolution. Greenpeace has written to the UK authorities asking whether they plan to launch an investigation into BP following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and other environmental breaches.