Greenpeace is calling the National Party’s newly announced energy policy blatant climate denial and an affront to all the people and communities already suffering the impacts of climate change.
It has been reported that the National Party will overturn the ban on new oil and gas exploration permits, promote the use of carbon capture and storage and back “responsible” mining if it wins the October election.
“Right now, the world is quite literally on fire with unprecedented wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest, California and Siberia,” says Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson.
“The apocalyptic scenes from San Francisco are coming through less than a year after the devastating Australian bushfires covered New Zealand in a red haze.
“I’m not sure who National is trying to win over with this policy. But it certainly isn’t the vast majority of New Zealanders who are concerned about climate change.”
In particular, Larsson is criticising National’s vow to repeal the Ardern Government’s offshore oil and gas exploration ban, announced in 2018.
“There’s already more oil and gas in existing reserves than the world can afford to burn. Searching for more is out of the question. That’s why the offshore oil and gas ban was such a historic moment for climate protection. It needs to be maintained.”
Larsson says the National Party clearly hasn’t been following the latest trends in technology development.
“Carbon capture and storage is an old idea that hasn’t lived up to the hype. Meanwhile solar, wind and battery technology have taken off. We’re seeing gas and coal plants being retired early because it’s simply more economical to run renewables.
“Solar and wind are also some of the world’s fastest growing job creators. Green energy produces four times more jobs per dollar invested than the oil industry does. If we want to get people into work in response to the Covid recession, renewables are the answer. Solar has potential in every region, town and city in the country.
“Economists are already heralding the end of the oil age due to collapsed oil prices from Covid-19 alongside growing concerns about climate change. National are flogging a dead horse by promising to prop up this sunset industry.
“A bold energy policy should include big investments in energy efficiency, like insulating New Zealand’s 600,000 under-insulated homes. Millions of dollars in support for new clean energy projects, particularly household- and community-owned solar and wind schemes should also be on the table.”
Greenpeace is calling on all political parties to adopt ambitious climate and energy policies this election, and has published an overview of major party climate and environment policies.
2019 IAG-Ipsos poll: Kiwi concern grows about climate change
The poll found that the number of Kiwis who feel the issue of climate change is important to them personally has grown to 79 per cent, from 72 per cent last year.
Sixty-nine per cent said that they have become more concerned about climate change over the past few years – up from 60 per cent.