Protests today outside Taranaki energy companies

By Jessica Tyson

Environmental group Climate Justice Taranaki are protesting outside energy companies Todd Energy and OMV today in a bid to curb climate change.

Spokesperson Emily Bailey says the group wants to "name and shame" companies profiting from harming the environment.

“Just to remind these people who work in these companies that their industry does not have a social license,” says Bailey.

Despite the government's recent announcement that new offshore petroleum permits are not being issued, existing permit holders continue to drill on and offshore, and new onshore permits may be issued in Taranaki, according to the group.

Report highlights urgent action needs to be taken

Today's protest comes after a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showing urgent action needs to be taken to stop global temperatures rising more than 1.5 degrees celsius.

“The IPCC report came out yesterday saying that we've basically got only 10 years to turn around and stop all these greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere and that really, 10 years is not enough,” says Bailey.

“We need to step things up and that's why we're having regular protests, not just in Taranaki but around the country.”

Co-convener of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council, Dr Alex Macmillan says urgent action against climate change needs to happen, “for the sake of our health.”

“The report says that at 1.5°C, there are still serious health consequences, but the lower we can keep global warming, the better for our health.  Conversely, the longer we delay acting, the harder it will be to protect health.”

The report comes at a critical stage of the development of New Zealand’s proposed Zero Carbon Act, where there was overwhelming public support for net zero emissions for all climate-damaging gases.

“It highlights the need for the Act to be significantly strengthened to ensure it is consistent with the science, with an earlier than 2050 zero emissions target and agriculture playing a crucial role in cutting its emissions,” says Macmillan.

Rereātea has approached Todd Energy and OMV for comment. Todd Energy spokesperson Hamish McHaffie says the company doesn't have any comment on the matter. Meanwhile, OMV has not replied.