Greenpeace – Climb It Change – protest

Written By: - Date published: 3:39 pm, November 24th, 2015 - 33 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, global warming, Mining - Tags: , ,

This morning Greenpeace supporters received an email beginning:

As I write this, I’m preparing to board a Government research ship in Wellington to stop it beginning another deep sea oil survey. And if you got this email, that means I’ve made it!

To be honest, I’m terrified. I’ve never done anything like this before. But our climate is being pushed to its limits and we must all push our own limits to protect it.

We boarded the ship at dawn, I’ve climbed the mast with two friends and we’ve locked ourselves on. Together we’ve deployed a banner that reads: ‘Climb It Change’. And I can see two more people with similar banners below. They’re also locking themselves to the ship.

We’ll post updates live via twitter on the Greenpeace website here.

The ship we’re on is the NIWA research boat Tangaroa which has recently been refitted for oil and gas exploration at a cost of 24 million to the tax-payer. Now on the eve of the Paris climate talks, it has been searching for deep sea oil reserves off the East Coast of the North Island on behalf of Statoil and Chevron! It’s just madness.

We’re taking action to highlight how crazy it is that our Government is seeking new oil reserves at a time when the climate is in crisis. Finding new oil to burn is the exact opposite of what needs to happen.

We need real climate action – not more oil to burn. That’s why we’re taking action today. We want to draw attention to what our Government is doing and inspire others to take action too.

I’m prepared to stay up here as long as possible, and so are the others. Despite the nerves, we are committed to stopping deep sea oil drilling.

You can take action with us by sending a message direct to Statoil now.

The world cannot wait. We need real climate action now. All around us we’re seeing the impacts of climate change. Our Pacific neighbours are already losing their homes. And just this week we’ve seen that thousands of Kiwi families could be pushed from their homes due to rising sea levels. …

The protest has been covered on Stuff and the live feed is still active (#ClimbItChange).

climb-it-change-protest

33 comments on “Greenpeace – Climb It Change – protest ”

  1. weka 1

    Those people are true heros. Huge gratitude.

    It claimed the Niwa taxpayer-funded climate and ocean research boat, Tangaroa, had been refitted at a cost of $24 million for oil and gas exploration, and was surveying for oil on the East Coast of the North Island on behalf of Statoil and Chevron.

    wtf?

    Also, can the police in NZ arrest someone without saying what they are being charged with?

    Siana Fitzjohn, who is up the ship’s gantry, said police had now twice climbed up and told the remaining protesters they had been arrested and asked them to come down – an offer that was refused.

    They had not yet been told what they had been charged with.

  2. Wayne 2

    I am pretty sure the work on the Tangaroa being referred to was undertaken in 2011 in Singapore when I was Minister of Science and Innovation, though maybe some work has been done since.

    In any event the work was not done to make the vessel more suited for oil exploration, but it was done for broader marine research, including geological research. As far as I was aware this tended to be in the Kermadec trench for vulcanism and such like, for seabed core samples, including the makeup of methane hydrates off the East Coast, which was mostly about their stability as the oceans warmed. The ship needed more positional stability for taking accurate and deeper seabed core samples, plus better labs. But the samples are essentially about 6 meters or so of the seabed, so probably not that useful for oil exploration but of great interest to climate scientists since the deposits in the core samples essentially are a record of the biomass and thus the climate over thousands of years. The ship does have a very powerful sonar system that not only records the seabed surface but also the underlying geology but nothing like an specially equipped oil survey vessel.

    So while the overall knowledge of the geology of the New Zealand EEZ is no doubt of some usefulness for oil companies, I would be surprised if this was the primary objective of the ongoing work by the Tangaroa.

    • r0b 2.1

      Interesting, thanks Wayne, but notice that the claim that “it has been searching for deep sea oil reserves off the East Coast of the North Island on behalf of Statoil and Chevron” is pretty specific.

      • tracey 2.1.1

        BUT that would come within “geological survey”. Which can cover a multidue of good and bad stuff (depending on your POV).

    • maui 2.2

      I see, so when the Tangaroa drills for oil its just putting its Crown minerals hat on. Even though its funded by the arm of Government doing environmental science work that has different goals.
      https://www.niwa.co.nz/about/our-mission

      • savenz 2.2.1

        So how much money is Statoil and Chevron paying for our tax payer funded NIWA vessel to be doing their work for them?

    • tracey 2.3

      Thanks for this Wayne. During your time, within the discussion around geological survey capacity etc did the topic of oil exploration ever come up? If it did and if the information can be used by those companies looking to do oil work, did you discuss getting funding from that sector to assist the refit/upgrade?

      • Wayne 2.3.1

        Only in a general sense. NIWA and GNS certainly were keen to progressively build up a detailed knowledge of the geology of the EEZ seabed, which is part of their overall mission. The more detailed information will no doubt be useful to oil companies

        So obviously oil companies can use the NIWA and GNS research, and for the most detailed information possessed by GNS and NIWA probably have to pay for it. It would help the oil companies plan and refine their much more detailed work.

        The NZ govt, at least under National (but I also imagine Labour) is not going to prohibit those companies having access to such information. After all National is not opposed to oil companies looking for oil in the continental shelf, as Stephen Joyce clearly indicated.

        However, I appreciate that the Greens are opposed, and if they have enough influence in govt would no doubt try and implement such a policy. Everyone knows where National stands on this issue, just as they know where the Greens stand. People can make up their own minds on which choice they prefer in the ballot box.

        As for paying for the upgrade, my recollection is that it was part of the general NIWA plan to improve the overall capability of the ship, especially to do better core samples, and thus it was paid for out of NIWA resources. These samples come from the top 6 meters of the seabed, so I can’t see how they would benefit oil surveys. As i indicated yesterday the powerful sonar gives a picture of the deeper geology, but for an oil company it would be an indicator as to where they should focus their work. After all they don’t just randomly sail the oceans hoping to strike it rich, they focus on the best spots. And as we have found from the Petrobas research off the East Coast a lot of these are duds in any event.

        • tracey 2.3.1.1

          Did you consider setting up decent fees payable by oil companies to access the information provided for on the back of taxpayer funding? I get that you wanted to balance encouraging them versus the cost to the tax payer. Do you recall seeing a cost/benefit anaylsis of that nature in your time in charge?

          Are the royalties paying to NZ the same for all companies or are they negotiated on an oil company by oil company basis?

          “After all they don’t just randomly sail the oceans hoping to strike it rich, they focus on the best spots”

          Yes, I get that, I am just wondering how much of that risk is alleviated on the back of data paid for by the taxpayer versus return to taxpayer, given, as you say, lots turn out to be “duds”.

          Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  3. Paul 3

    These are real heroes.
    Saving the planet.
    At their own personal risk.
    Against the might of all powerful corporations.
    And against a miserable ‘government’ that fails to represent people.

    • Corokia 4.1

      RNZ had Paul Brennan on this afternoon, he was certainly playing devil’s advocate (as he always seems to do with climate change). I’m guessing he would have had a lot of feedback, but I think he only read 1 email out- that’s very light for listener comments in the afternoon show. I challenged him on the claim he made (twice) that NZ has a right to know what our oil and gas resources are, so that it is OK that the Tangaroa is looking for fossil fuels, in that it isn’t actually drilling for them.

      “Hi Paul, re your argument that a country has a right to know it’s resources, would that then apply to asbestos? We don’t mine asbestos anymore because of the health risks, but do you think we should still use taxpayer funded science to look for it? After all, it is a resource”

  4. RedBaronCV 5

    That Nact bunch have abosolutely no shame whatsoever. How dare they.

    The Tangaroa was designed as a fisheries research vessel to monitor and research our very valuable fisheries within the 200 mile limit. A significant economic resource of the country. There is nothing economically rational about this- why ignore and disinvest in such a significant resource – and shove the taxpayer investment sideways into a social benefit for oil companies who should be paying their own way when they are gambling on whether there is any resource there at all. A

    And that’s even before the global warming problem. Crony capitalism – if TPPA is signed I imagine we can’t increase royalty rates either.

  5. Tautuhi 6

    The Natz are looking for oil as it will be the golden bullet for them, likewise it will make some NZers super wealthy and $$$$ will be pouring out of the sea.

    I don’t think Ngati Porou will be too happy if there is an oil well blow out, which will affect their foreshore and fisheries?

  6. tracey 7

    A few days ago I commented that it can be hlpful to have a militant/extreme arm that allows others to swoop in and seem “moderate” when they are in fact moving the centre one way or the other. In NZ terms this has generally (but not exclusively) been to the right, creating a new centre to the right of where it was.

    Greenpeace play this role in terms of the environment. I have often thought the LP could use this to move it’s own position more left by essentially saying “that idea is extreme we prefer this…) – rather than just joining the militant/looney name calling meme which leaves the centre (and sttus quo) in place.

    • RedBaronCV 7.1

      A tactic I can agree with. Sending some out on “point” further left enables the centre to move towards it. The reservation I have is that those out on “left” point seem to get arrested and convicted ( which can affect their future) in a way that never seems to happen to those on “right” point.

      • tracey 7.1.1

        Well the right’s illegal activity tends to be more of the fraud type, and against companies that choose to keep the offending secret cos it damages their reputation (Note: I accept it is a broad statement) and know how (and can afford lawyers) to “work” the legal system… including name suppression.

        ACT, for example, kept David Garret’s past secret fr their own purpose but are quick to jump on the offending of others… Incidentally ACT has a conviction rate of about 17-20% of their MPs over their shortish history.

        I notice Seymour yesterday bemonaing the secrecy and lack of transparency at Auckland Council while remaining pretty silent on National’s

        “”The Herald today reports that councillors have been sworn to secrecy over intensification plans for Epsom, Mt Eden, and other central suburbs. If this is true, then it’s an affront to the purpose of elected office. If it’s false, then all councillors should deny it immediately,” said Mr Seymour.

        “It’s also a betrayal of young people in its assumption that they can never own a house and must live in apartments. It’s vital for councillors to speak up over this plan, not just to keep Auckland residents in the loop, but to ensure accountability to voters in next year’s local election.”

        Mr Seymour said residents have been worn down by the lack of consultation and constantly shifting goalposts for making submissions.

        “This has been made worse by the timidity of councillors who are meant to facilitate information-sharing. The apparent failure of councillors to facilitate broad consultation with individual residents is a dereliction of duty.

        “Aucklanders deserve better. I’m calling on each councillor and mayoral candidate to tell residents what their real position is on Len Brown’s intensification agenda.”

        Junior Minister and MP, follow your own advice

        Except as MP for Epsom he seems to have a duty to protect the property values and exclusive public schools of the area… and maybe he does. BUT as Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education he has an obligation to all NZers, from a schooling POV

        • RedBaronCV 7.1.1.1

          I rather thought it was Nact or Nick Smiths intensification and immigration agenda, not Len Browns.

          • tracey 7.1.1.1.1

            Yes but NIMBY is strong in the Epsom electorate. Remember Hooton’s outrage when school zones were going to change? And how quickly the plan got stymied?

            Seymour would take note of the trouble Hoots could cause on such an issue.

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11297989

            • RedBaronCV 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I though NIMBY was strong right through the eastern bays. Judging from what I’ve heard from people I know I think they imagined intensifiction wasn’t going to happen to them. Maybe Hoots needs to cause more right wing trouble.

              • tracey

                Indeed. They know what is best for everyone else in NZ….

                It is the SPEED that such a proposal got shut down that is scary

  7. Rosemary McDonald 8

    “NIWA report confirms it does oil and gas work

    “The $1 million profiler identifies marine ocean bottom sediments and strata, sometimes up to 200m below the surface of the seabed,” it said.
    “This helps the industry find sub-surface formations such as carbonate accumulations, hydrocarbon or methane-based seeps and gas chimneys, which are indicative of new petroleum resources.”
    The sort of work being done by NIWA is strongly supported by the Minister of Science and Innovation Steven Joyce.
    “NIWA has a lot of science work but it also has spare capacity which it tries to recover in terms of the costs by operating commercially, and that is what we would expect,” he said.
    Oil industry sources said NIWA’s ability to map the ocean floor and take core samples would be attractive to oil companies.””

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/290502/niwa-report-confirms-it-does-oil-and-gas-work

    Shame on our government.

    Kudos to Greenpeace for exposing this travesty.

    • tracey 8.1

      So, an OIA on how much oil companies were charged for the service and how those rates were set.

      • Rosemary McDonald 8.1.1

        Hmmm…an OIA request regarding a commercial arrangement might be a problem…especially if specific $$$ amounts were requested.

        What is needed here is a whistleblower…someone close to the organisation who has a social conscience and believes the citizens of NZ have a right to this information.

        • tracey 8.1.1.1

          Ok, IF oil companies were charged for the service and how those rates were set (not fina l numbers but calculations/comparissons etc used.

  8. Rosemary McDonald 9

    Makes me wonder just how long Big Oil has been influencing NIWA and/or its Government paymasters.

    Puts the whole Jim Salinger debacle in a new light.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Salinger

    • tracey 9.1

      as long as they could get away with it? Dr Mapp denied it this morning and i left a couple of questions for him, which I am sure he will answer when he checks back in.

      • Rosemary McDonald 9.1.1

        I never thought I’d ever say this…but…Wayne!!! Wayne!!! Where are you Wayne???

        He might also be able to clarify if this relationship between the oil companies and NIWA will be affected…either strengthened or weakened under the TPPA.

        You know..do they have a contract?

        • tracey 9.1.1.1

          And yet, there have been crickets only, since his dropping of the reassuring post that there is nothing to see here.

  9. Rosemary McDonald 10

    Jamie Morton Science reporter for the Herald…Interviews NIWA’s principal climate scientist…..Dr Andrew Tait.

    “Q. What are the key components that cause anthropogenic or human-driven climate change, and how do they interact to elevate average temperatures?

    A. The burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – adds CO2 into the atmosphere that would otherwise have remained sequestered away deep underground.

    While the additional carbon is naturally cycled between the atmosphere, soils, ocean and biosphere, there has been a distinct increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere over the last 50 years since measurements began.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11551898

    Thank you Jamie…but couldn’t you have slipped in this question?

    Q. Was it appropriate, Dr. Tait , for NIWA to be paid by Big Oil to survey for fossil fuels with the view to furure exploitation?

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