Quantcast
Energy
lauwen66 / Flickr

New Zealand Bans New Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration

New Zealand will no longer offer new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday.

"The whole world is going in this direction," Ardern said. "We all signed up to the Paris agreement that said we're moving towards carbon-neutrality, and now we need to act on it."


The ban only affects future permits for offshore oil and gas exploration and will not affect the existing 22. This could allow exploration to feasibly continue in a 38,000-square-mile area until the existing permits expire, which could be "as far out as 2030," the government acknowledged. Permits for onshore oil and gas exploration will also continue.

The energy industry and the opposition party were alarmed by the announcement. New Zealand Oil & Gas told Reuters they were not warned about the new policy.

"We note that the announcement is a sudden change of policy, which has not been consulted on and appears to conflict with the government's pre-election promises," the company said.

The center-right National Party condemned the ban, calling it "economic vandalism" and claiming that it made no environmental sense.

Ardern noted, "Nothing will change overnight. These existing permits have very long lead times. We'll be seeing oil and gas exploration for a number of years to come. And the jobs—the four-and-a-half thousand jobs in this industry—will continue too."

"But we're putting a line in the sand and saying, now it's our job to plan for the future," Ardern said. "We will make sure we've got that transition plan in place, and what the future of clean, green, carbon-neutral New Zealand looks like."

The 37-year-old prime minister, who was elected in October, campaigned on an ambitious environmental agenda. Her government has pledged to power the country's grid with 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Jacinda Ardern at the swearing of new cabinet in October. Wikimedia Commons

Greenpeace New Zealand celebrated the announcement. Executive Director Russel Norman praised Ardern for personally accepting a 50,000-strong Greenpeace petition to oppose oil and gas exploration.

"Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Coalition Government have taken an historic step and delivered a huge win for the climate, spurred on by the tens of thousands of people and environmental NGOs like Greenpeace who have fought for years to end new oil and gas exploration," he said in a statement.

"While we will continue to demand a complete end to fossil fuel exploration on land and sea as well as the revoking of existing permits, this has been one of Greenpeace New Zealand's longest running campaigns and today marks a great success for so many people," Norman continued.

He added, "Greenpeace also supports the Prime Minister's commitment to a just transition to a clean energy future, which can provide jobs and a big boost to our economy."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Animals
White-tailed deer flee in a nighttime photograph. George Shiras

People Are So Annoying That Animals Are Becoming More Nocturnal

By Jason Bittel

It's official: Animals around the world are sick of our sh . . . enanigans.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Emilie Chen / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Against All Odds, Mountain Gorilla Numbers Are on the Rise

By Jason Bittel

The news coming out of East Africa's Virunga Mountains these days would have made the late (and legendary) conservationist Dian Fossey very happy. According to the most recent census, the mountain gorillas introduced to the world in Gorillas in the Mist, Fossey's book and the film about her work, have grown their ranks from 480 animals in 2010 to 604 as of June 2016. Add another couple hundred apes living in scattered habitats to the south, and their population as a whole totals more than 1,000. Believe it or not, this makes the mountain gorilla subspecies the only great apes known to be increasing in number.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Garlic mustard flower. Gary J. Wood / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

10 Edible Weeds Likely Growing in Your Yard

By Brian Barth

You work so hard on your vegetable garden, primping and pruning to the point of exhaustion each spring. One of the biggest chores, of course, is weeding. But in doing so, you might be throwing away valuable produce.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Pixabay

If Meditation Is Not Your Thing, Try a Walk in the Woods

By Karin Klein

There are times when I don't know what to do with myself. I feel at odds with the world, irritated by the people in it, in a funk about myself and what I'm achieving or, rather, not achieving, overwhelmed by the obstacles and complications of life. Happiness seems like an entirely elusive state of being.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Insights
Bill Hinton / Getty Images

Fake Grassroots Campaigns Deserve Uprooting

AstroTurf looks and feels like grass—in an all-too-perfect way. But it's not grass.

Now the well-known artificial turf's brand name has taken on a new meaning, referring to purported "grassroots" efforts that are actually funded and supported by industry and political entities.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
A photo posted by Hard to Port shows an Icelandic company having killed what some say is an endangered blue whale. Hard to Port / Facebook

Some Experts Say Icelandic Whaling Company Killed an Endangered Blue Whale

Anti-whaling group Hard to Port posted photos on their Facebook page Tuesday that activist group Sea Shepherd claims show an endangered blue whale recently killed by an Icelandic whaling company, the Australian ABC News reported Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health

Kentucky Law Could Restrict Health Care for Miners Suffering From Black Lung Disease

A Kentucky law that goes into effect Saturday could make it more difficult for miners suffering from black lung to claim federal benefits, Vice News reports.

The law mandates that only five of Kentucky's 11 pulmonologists, or lung experts, may examine miners' X-rays in benefit claims.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Yannick Croissant / CC BY 2.0

Sorry AC/DC, Rock and Roll Is Noise Pollution

By John R. Platt

It's a rare scientific paper that cites both biologist E.O. Wilson and AC/DC guitarist Angus Young.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!