School Strike 4 Climate NZ are “extremely concerned” by the decision the Government made in September 2018 to grant a coal mining exploration permit on Crown Land in Waikato and at the fact that the permit hasn’t yet been revoked.
One of the School Strike 4 Climate Coordinators, Tony Huang, is perplexed at how this fits in with the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill which was introduced to Parliament last month – “The current target in the Bill for net zero carbon emissions is 2050. Not revoking this permit in Waikato is detrimental to not only meeting the targets set out in the Bill as it stands but also to our futures. We must instead invest in building an economy that will provide long-term jobs that will still be around for our children’s generation”. SS4C NZ say “Our Government has made big promises for meaningful action on climate change, and yet, this seems very contradictory. Investing further in developing this industry in Aotearoa puts our future, and that of future generations at risk”.
School Strike 4 Climate acknowledges that there are workers and communities who depend on these industries and they deserve a just transition. The Government and the oil industry must provide support for upskilling and retraining as well as investing in building an economy that will provide long-term, sustainable job opportunities.
We should be seeing big announcements about investments in developing these industries in Aotearoa, but instead we are seeing further support for expanding an industry that puts our future in peril. Carrying on the way we did before is not an option. As Greta Thunberg has said, “those answers don’t exist anymore, because you did not act in time”.