Actor Lucy Lawless and climate scientist Jim Salinger today added their names to a Greenpeace petition calling for a shift to clean sources of energy. The number of people signing the petition has surged since the Rena disaster, and the total is now over 100,000.
The petition also calls for a stop to the Government's plans for deep sea oil drilling off New Zealand's coasts, and for a halt to plans to expand the coal industry.
"I'd urge anyone who wants to protect our coasts from an even worse oil spill than that which we saw in Tauranga, to sign this petition," said Lawless.
She continued: "By doing so, they'll also be doing something positive about the climate crisis that this planet is facing."
Climate scientist Jim Salinger said: "Opening up the final, extreme frontiers of the oil industry, whether they are in New Zealand or the Arctic, is only going to make global warming worse now and in the future.
"Decisions we make today will determine the severity of climate change that our children and grandchildren will have to deal with. I urge all New Zealanders who care about the future of humanity on this planet to sign this petition," said Salinger.
Steve Abel, Greenpeace NZ climate Change Campaigner, said: "People simply aren't buying John Key's line that the Rena spill has no relation to the risks of deep sea oil drilling. What the Rena demonstrated was that even a small oil spill, in shallow waters near one of New Zealand's biggest ports, can't be controlled, and will have devastating impacts.
"Yet the Rena spill was not even 0.1 per cent the size of the Deepwater Horizon deep sea oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last year," Abel said (1).
BP alone has set aside more than US $40 billion to cover its share of the cost of the disaster. (2)
"Given that international oil giants like Shell, Andarko and Petrobras are planning to drill in New Zealand waters at depths even greater than the 1500 metres the Deepwater Horizon was operating in, the risk of a catastrophic spill happening here is very real," Abel said.
"Imagine waiting helplessly for hundreds or thousands of times more oil than that which came from the Rena to wash ashore. We must never expose ourselves to that sort of risk."
Abel concluded: "The economic impact of deep sea oil drilling on New Zealand's clean green reputation needs to be properly evaluated. To understand the extent of the risks posed by deep sea oil drilling, the Government needs to extrapolate the economic, ecological and cultural impacts of Rena. But as long as they maintain that there is no relation between the two, then they are burying their heads in the sand."
The petition exists in hard copy form, and online, at: http://greenpe.ac/nodeepseaoil
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