Why it matters
Over hundreds of millions of years, decayed plants and animals have been transformed into deposits of oil, coal, and natural gas lying under New Zealand’s land and sea, locking away huge amounts of carbon.
Fossil fuel extraction has propped up regional economies, particularly on the West Coast and Taranaki. But these industries have no place in a low-carbon society.
Fossil fuels kick us twice – not only does exploration and extraction wreak havoc on the natural environment, but when burnt they release that ancient carbon, contributing to climate disruption.
Oil and gas
Seismic surveying for offshore oil and gas creates a sonic barrage for whales and dolphins, including critically endangered Māui’s dolphin and blue whales. Deep-sea drilling also involves the ever-present threat of an oil spill, which would be catastrophic for our marine life.
Coal under the ground is often overlaid by unique landscapes and rare biodiversity on the surface, and Forest & Bird has fought many campaigns to stop coal mines destroying conservation land on the West Coast. Coal mining also releases potent methane emissions when the coal is exposed to air – and this comes on top of emissions released when the coal is burnt.
In April 2018, the incoming government announced a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration, something that environmental organisations including Forest & Bird had been calling for.
Keeping our oil, gas and coal in the ground reduces everyone's risk, and tells the world we're serious about taking action on climate change.
What is Forest & Bird doing?
- In early 2018 we moved our bank accounts from ANZ because of the bank’s investments in fossil fuels
- We are involved in two separate legal fights to defend the forested mountain of Te Kuha on the West Coast from an opencast coal mine
- We’re urging the government to make good on its election promise to end mining permits on conservation land