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An oil industry-commissioned report claiming to show the Government’s oil and gas exploration ban will cost billions is nothing but “fake news and flatulence”, according to Greenpeace.

The NZIER report commissioned by oil industry body, PEPANZ, claims the oil and gas ban issued by the Government last April could cost the the New Zealand economy $28 billion by 2050. It also claims it could cost the Taranaki economy $30 billion.

But Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says the figures in the report are based on false assumptions and alternative facts.

“This report is simply a rehash of old modelling that failed to take into account the cost of climate change or the value that new clean energy industries will have as we transition away from fossil fuels,” she says.

“It assumes we have a choice about whether or not we respond to climate change. We don’t. We have just ten years to cut our emissions in half if we want to avoid passing the 1.5 degree warming threshold for human safety.”

Larsson says the effects of climate change will cost us dearly and inaction is not an option. Most recently, the Insurance Council of New Zealand confirmed that 2017 and 2018 were the two most expensive years in New Zealand for claims related to extreme weather.

“Ending fossil fuel use is non-negotiable. What matters now is how the Government and industry support workers and communities through the transition to clean energy so they are not negatively impacted,” she says.

“The oil and gas industry has had 40 years’ warning that fossil fuels are driving climate change – the industry now has a responsibility to invest in retraining and transition support for its workers and communities.

“In Taranaki, there are enormous opportunities in the clean energy industry. The skills employed in offshore oil and gas transfer well to the offshore wind industry, for example. In the US, we’ve seen wind and solar technicians become the two fastest growing professions.”

PEPANZ hopes to use the report as leverage for a review of the oil and gas ban. Larsson says she hopes common sense will prevail.

“PEPANZ is an oil hype group that exists solely to pedal propaganda for an industry that for decades has been knowingly causing climate change and denying it. The alternative facts pushed in this report are nothing but fake news and flatulence,” she says.

“The figures are based on fantastical modelling that imagines masses of gas lying offshore that despite intensive searching, the industry has failed to uncover. Oil and gas companies have drilled 75 wells in a decade and not found one bit of commercial gas – not even a fart’s worth.”

ENDS