Environmental group Greenpeace has come out swinging over comments by Federal resources minister, Keith Pitt, in which he urged oil and gas producers to fight back against groups such as Greenpeace by quantifying the sector’s contribution to the economy.
The minister’s remarks were made during a speech to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Perth on Wednesday, with Pitt criticising activism that “ignores the fact that resources development in Australia is carried out safely and responsibly and that Australia’s economy was built off the back of the resources sector”.
The response from Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, David Ritter, has been strong and direct.
These businesses are directly responsible for climate crisis
“This is a conference hosted by the oil and gas lobby. The corporations represented by that lobby are those directly responsible for the climate crisis, which is driving devastating bushfires, crippling drought, extinction of species and bleaching the Great Barrier Reef year after year,” he said.
“The very reason that millions of Australians support the work of Greenpeace is to take the action on climate change that Minister Pitt’s government has not only resoundingly failed to do, but actively blocked for the past seven years.”
Ritter said that, when it came to climate change, the Australian Government’s stance was a national embarrassment.
“It seems Minister Pitt would rather support the nation’s biggest climate polluters than take care of the people of Australia.”
Politicians are failing in their duty to protect the planet
“Greenpeace is singled out by politicians like Minister Pitt because we are effective in preventing the fossil fuel industry from destroying the climate and planet, and we will continue to do so for as long as politicians fail in their responsibilities.”
According to Ritter, the fossil fuel industry has worked to thwart action on climate change for decades, attempting to stop the clean energy transition and leading to devastating outcomes for people and the planet.
“The International Energy Agency itself accepts fossil fuels are on borrowed time and recommends countries like Australia stop investing in fossil fuels now,” he said.
G7 and banks are committed to stop funding coal projects
“The G7 has committed to stop funding coal projects, as have major banks all over the world. The whole world – including Australia’s main trading partners and allies – have committed to greater climate action. Politicians like Minister Pitt are again lagging hopelessly behind, while the vast majority of Australians want to see a rapid transition from dirty fossil fuels to renewable energy.”
In his speech, Minister Pitt argued that demand for LNG gas is growing in the face of global pushback from environmental and shareholder groups, and Australia intends to remain at the forefront of the sector for decades.
He said the Government had plans to develop the North Bowen and Galilee basins in central Queensland for gas extraction.
“We know that the Bowen Basin is a major coal-producing area, but it also has immense potential for gas,” Pitt stated.