Greenpeace activists tried to stop an oil conference Monday by playing a global warming-themed version of the popular game “Cards Against Humanity.”
Early Monday morning roughly 150 Greenpeace-affiliated protesters blocked the entrances to the Petroleum New Zealand Conference in Auckland. The protest broke up before noon, even though a Greenpeace spokesman claimed the activists would be around all day. The protesters failed to shut down the conference or prevent government officials from attending it.
Protesters brought Cards Against Humanity-imitation placards that were covered with global warming and anti-oil messages. “What is climate change fuel to? – Droughts, floods and rising seas,” read one sign. “What’s the difference between an oil spill and a solar spill? – A broken economy,” read another. Russel Norman, Greenpeace New Zealand’s executive director who was once a Green Member of Parliament, attended the protest.
“The decision was made to leave in a dignified manner. This is it for today, until our next direct action event,” Steve Abel, a Greenpeace spokesperson, told the news website Stuff.co.nz. “We have a government and an oil industry hell-bent on drilling for the very oil that must stay in the ground if we’re going to avoid climate change causing human catastrophe.”
Roughly 60 activists were charged with illegal trespassing.
New Zealand’s Minister of Energy Simon Bridges used the conference to announce that the government would open more than 193,000 square miles of territory to oil exploration. Bridges stated the biggest obstacle to developing the country’s oil industry was historically low prices.
“When the economic circumstances are as they are at the moment, then participants in the exploration sector have to act in a financially prudent manner and when you consider an exploratory well could cost in excess of $100 million to drill that’s not probably not financially prudent at the moment, “John Kidd, an oil and gas analyst at Woodward Partners, told Radio New Zealand in February.
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