The New Zealand Government has suffered the ignominy of ‘winning’ the first Fossil of the Day award at the Dubai COP28 climate conference for its plan to overturn the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration.
“This is no joke,” says Greenpeace Aotearoa’s head of campaigns Amanda Larsson. “With the Luxon-led Government’s extremist position on oil exploration, New Zealand risks becoming a Pacific pariah.”
“Already the President of Palau has slammed New Zealand over it, Vanuatu’s Climate Change Minister has called on them to rethink the plan, and Germany’s top climate diplomat spoke out to say reopening New Zealand to offshore oil and gas exploration would go against science and economics,” says Larsson.
“We can see the climate crisis unfolding in real-time all around us, with communities here in Aotearoa and in the Pacific suffering worsening impacts from storms, slips, rising sea levels and droughts.
“New oil and gas exploration threatens to throw more fuel on the fire. Even the conservative International Energy Agency has clearly said that there can be no new oil and gas expansion if we are to avoid runaway climate change.”
Climate Action Network International presented the award in Dubai and asked whether New Zealand’s new Change Minister, Simon Watts, didn’t hear the climate alarm bells ringing.
“He may underestimate the devastating climate consequences of this decision, but we, and their Pacific island neighbours in Palau, who slammed his intentions as tragic, certainly do not,” said Muhammed Saidykhan of CAN.
Greenpeace Aotearoa has launched an open letter to the oil and gas industry, promising to resist any attempt to conduct oil exploration in Aotearoa. Over 15,000 people have signed on since it was launched in October.
Also at COP28, more than 100 countries – including Australia – signed a pledge promising to treble world renewable energy use by 2030, but the New Zealand government is not among them.