In the wake of today’s sweeping executive order by US President Donald Trump to reverse efforts to address climate change and instead protect the oil, gas and coal industries, Greenpeace New Zealand is preparing to go and confront his agenda at sea.
Oil giants Chevron and Statoil are currently using the world’s biggest seismic ship, the 125-metre long Amazon Warrior, to search for oil off the Wairarapa Coast.
Trump has shares in Chevron, and the oil company funded a large part of his presidential inauguration.
Greenpeace NZ Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, says Trump’s agenda is being rejected all over the world because people know that for them to have a future, the oil industry can have no future.
“The Fossil Fuel President can do his best to implement this climate madness, but it’s going to be vigorously challenged by people everywhere,” he says.
“In New Zealand, we’re preparing to go to sea to confront this monster of a seismic blasting ship that’s out here in our pristine oceans, doing Trump’s dirty work for Chevron.”
Greenpeace will be making the trip in the newest member of its fleet, a 15-metre boat it crowdfunded nearly $100,000 for in just seven days. The organisation is currently running a public vote to name the boat, and will hold a naming ceremony in Wellington this Saturday.
Norman says the world is making the transition to clean energy at breakneck speed. Renewables now make up more than half of the world’s new power capacity, and are growing by the day.
“We’ve seen tens of millions of people around the globe march, blockade and take action to demand this transition, and global leaders are listening,” he says.
“Fossil fuel president Trump is impotent when it comes to halting renewables. The global economy’s transition to clean energy cannot be reversed.
“Here in New Zealand, people are also rising up against this mad pursuit of new oil in the midst of a climate emergency.”
Scientists around the world agree that we can’t burn even half of the fossil fuel reserves that have already been discovered if we want to avoid runaway climate change.
Norman says this means not a single new oil well, gas field or coal mine can operate anywhere if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe. “Climate change threatens our homes, health and families. Despite this, our Government is actively subsidising oil companies to look for new oil, putting profits above people’s lives.
“In New Zealand we’ve already seen extreme storms, flooding, drought and fires in the space of a just a few weeks, and it’s only April. Climate change makes these weather events more frequent and more intense.
“There has never been a more urgent time to act than now.”
The Amazon Warrior has been searching for oil off the Wairarapa Coast since last November. This involves blasting the seafloor, every eight seconds, day and night.
Statoil and Chevron have permits to drill to extreme depths of up to three kilometres if oil is found.
Public opposition to the Amazon Warrior has seen protests in ports, petitions garnering tens of thousands of signatures, and significant iwi opposition.
Norman says Greenpeace will head out to sea in the coming weeks.