Friday, 27 April 2018

New Zealand stops all new offshore oil and gas exploration permits :)

New Zealand is leading the way in the South Pacific towards a carbon free economy with zero net emissions by 2050. The recently elected Labour gov, led by the very popular Jacinta Ardern, has announced the New Zealand gov will no longer issue any new permits for exploratory offshore oil and gas drilling, the permits already issued to expire in 2030.

This is a significant move away from the fossil fuel industry and in stark contrast to the aimless conservative Australian gov, who for all intents and purposes are little more than puppets of the fossil fuel industry. Australia's far right, long proponents of the free market, are even wanting now for the gov to intervene in the closing of an old dirty coal fired power station that is long beyond it's viability. This despite the private company that owns it deciding to end it's life in a few years as an economic decision.

New Zealand is of course a much smaller country than Australia, but it does have the fourth largest economic exclusion zone in the world (declared in 1978) at 200 nautical miles off the coast of New Zealand (370km) meaning that it has sovereign rights to everything that goes on there. Yes a small country, but a large offshore area. One which will no longer see any new exploration for oil and gas. All that's left are the current permit holders until 2030 and after that nothing, albeit there's already mounting pressure from Greenpeace to even stop those.

It was after a Greenpeace petition was delivered to the NZ gov (one that I myself signed online being a dual citizen) that the decision was made to end all new permits. Greenpeace NZ sees stopping the current permits as the next logical thing to do and is gearing up to set about accomplishing this.

Meanwhile in Australia, the Turnbull gov is setting about trying to crush the renewables industry with a new policy before parliament called the National Energy Guarantee (NEG). The policy is so bad for renewables that it would be better if the gov did literally nothing. They still keep banging on about coal and fossil fuels and how we need them, when renewables are already much cheaper and would reduce the cost of electricity (Australia has some of the most expensive electricity in the world currently). They don't even want to do anything to encourage electric cars, arguing they're "not suited" to Australian conditions. WTF?

This week, the New Zealand government announced it will no longer grant any new offshore oil exploration permits. The 22 permits that have already been issued are set to expire in 2030.

 The new Prime Minister, who took office last year, says this is all part of her aggressive, long-term plan to move towards a carbon-neutral future.

 "When it comes to climate change, our plan is clear," said Ardern, according to The New York Times.

 "We are committed to the goal of becoming a net zero emissions economy by 2050."

 Ardern added that her ultimate goal is to switch the country's electricity system to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

 New Zealand's historical decision comes shortly after Ardern received a Greenpeace petition, signed by 50,000 people, that demanded an end to the country's offshore drilling.

 "The tide has turned irreversibly against big oil in New Zealand," said the Greenpeace New Zealand executive director, Russel Norman.

 "Today's announcement is significant internationally too. By ending new oil and gas exploration in our waters, the fourth-largest exclusive economic zone on the planet is out of bounds for new fossil fuel exploitation. New Zealand has stood up to one of the most powerful industries in the world." Science Af  

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