Arctic melt record will speed up global energy revolution

Press release - August 27, 2012
Auckland, 27 August 2012 - The record melt of Arctic sea ice signals the urgency to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, says Greenpeace.

Preliminary figures released today from US National Snow and Ice Data Centre indicate that Arctic sea ice extent has passed the previous record low set in 2007. (1)

“This record is not the result of some freak of nature but the effect of man-made climate change caused by our reliance on dirty fossil fuels,”  says Greenpeace New Zealand Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer.

“This undeniable warning shot from the planet will accelerate the move away from fossil fuels.”

Last year US$280 billion was invested in clean, safe energy. (2)

Boxer says the surge in clean energy investment means global emissions of greenhouse gases are close to hitting a peak and reducing.

“The fossil fuel industry is being consigned to history by the energy revolution occurring right now. The message is loud and clear – if you work for the fossil fuel industry start looking for job opportunities in the clean energy sector.”

Globally, clean energy is a leading job creator. Nearly eight million jobs existed in clean energy in 2010. That figure is projected (3) to rise by another four million jobs within the next three years – eclipsing the number of jobs in all fossil fuels.

“Meanwhile, New Zealand is missing the opportunity to share in the economic and jobs bonanza created by clean energy due to the Government passing laws to promote its fossil fuel agenda at the expense of clean energy,” says Boxer.

“The Government's credibility on creating a prosperous 21st Century economy for New Zealand is disappearing faster than the Arctic sea ice. The Government's refusal to engage in the global clean energy race is costing this country tens of millions of dollars of missed business and jobs.”

In June this year Greenpeace launched a campaign to save the Arctic. So far, nearly one and a half million people have joined the to call for the Arctic to be designated an internationally protected region.

Last Friday six activists, including Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, boarded Gazprom’s ‘Prirazlomnaya’ Arctic oil platform, in the Pechora Sea, to demand that the Russian company abandon its dangerous Arctic oil drilling plans. (4)


Notes to Editors:

Greenpeace briefing on Arctic sea ice minimum;