Last week, New Zealand government announced that they won’t let anyone explore oil anymore. The ban on offshore oil exploration was announced by the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern. It was later clarified that the ban will be applied to new permits only and 22 current running operations will work accordingly. But these 22 operations will not come to an end in near future and will need decades for completion.
Ardern told that this ban is the first step to make New Zealand carbon-free. She further told that New Zealand govt has planned to eradicate oil from the country and will make the country carbon-free in coming 30 years. Jacinda also told that such transitions take decades to complete so New Zealand had to start it now or else it would be too late for them to make the country carbon-free.
The labor party of Jacinda was elected back in 2017 and one of the main agendas of her party included the control over climate change. Therefore, this government is fully committed to making the country carbon-free by 2030. While addressing to media, Ardern says they are finding the right balance for the country. She adds that her aim is to save current generation as well as future generation from climate change.
However, oil exploration in Taranaki which is supposed to be the hub of offshore oil exploration will continue which means that oil extraction will remain till 2050. According to government officials, there are many reasons behind the ban and main reasons include fulfilling the energy needs of the country and providing youngsters with job security.
The Prime Minister further said that she is fully backing the decision of the government and is proud of the government for bearing the effects of this ban. She added that we are imposing this ban too late and in the next 30 years we will start seeing the effects of this ban.
The Reaction To Ban:
Many associations fully backed the ban and said that this ban will lead the country towards the protection of wildlife. The CEO of conservation’s group Kevin Hague said that almost half of the dolphins of the world are found in or around New Zealand and his ban will surely help the survival of these rare animals.
However, the government faced some criticism from the opposition as the opposition party labeled this ban as the lose-lose situation for the country. According to the opposition, this ban will break the backbone of the country’s economy and many people will lose their jobs as well. In response to this critics, Ardern says that oil industry is just a single part of the economy and we will make sure no one loses his job. She also noted that the jobs which are there today will remain there as well in future.
PEPANZ – A petroleum company highly criticised this ban by saying that there would be no advantage of this ban and in future everyone would see how effective the ban is. Ardern says that the government officials when met with the oil sector representatives, they were very clear in their intentions to start the transition of oil away from the country.
The ban on offshore oil exploration is also important from the perspective of New Zealand in the sense that the country is a good producer of oil and gas. Other countries like Belize, France, and Costa Rica also planning to ban oil exploration. According to reports, by 2040 there will be a complete ban on both oil exploration and production in France. While Costa Rica who already has imposed the ban is planning to extend it till 2021. And earlier this year Belize announced a complete ban on oil exploration from its water.
Many experts are saying that this announcement by the New Zealand govt can inspire even more countries to put a ban on oil exploration and prefer to produce renewable energy. In recent years, New Zealand has invested a heavy amount on renewable energy and the country is expected to produce 90% renewable energy by 2025. Heavy investment in renewable energy has become a trend in recent years. Even countries like Saudi Arabia, who has rich resources of oil is planning to invest in renewable energy.