Greenpeace is celebrating the announcement that New Zealand Oil & Gas and its partner Beach Energy will relinquish their oil and gas exploration permit off the Oamaru coast as “another win for the climate, for wildlife and for people power”.
Known as ‘Clipper’, the huge 1,787 square-kilometre permit contains the Barque prospect, which the industry estimated to contain 11 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.5 billion barrels of light oil and condensate.
“It’s a relief to know that this carbon bomb will not be released into the atmosphere and that Aotearoa’s seabirds, whales, dolphins and other precious wildlife are safe from the risk of a catastrophic oil spill,” says Greenpeace Campaigner, Amanda Larsson.
“Climate change, and the polluting companies causing it, are putting our wellbeing at risk. We’re seeing more storms, floods and droughts that are threatening coastal communities, food security and health.
“The world cannot afford to keep burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal if we are to avoid total climate breakdown.”
The announcement comes with little fanfare, but marks another huge moment for people power, for iwi, hapū, environmental groups, and the hundreds of thousands of people who for the last decade have maintained one of the most relentless campaigns of the modern era to put an end to deep sea oil exploration in New Zealand.
“Burning dirty fuels like oil, gas and coal is causing a climate crisis. Fortunately, we don’t need to do this anymore. We already have the technology and the tools to power our homes, transport and businesses with clean energy from the sun, wind and water,” says Larsson.
“We can have homegrown and locally-produced energy that doesn’t pollute the air or the ocean. We can power our homes with our own energy, from the sunshine that beats down on our rooftops or the wind that blows through our farms.
“It’s time to stop talking about finding more fossil fuels to burn. Now is the time to build the world we want with the huge opportunity that the Covid recovery presents to realise a more resilient Aotearoa. This starts with a rapid transition away from fossil fuels, and towards a society powered by clean, renewable energy.
“We challenge Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern to make good on their election promise to Build Back Better and prioritise funding transformational projects in the May 2021 Budget.”