Groundbreaking study shows how to protect a third of our oceans by 2030

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

A scientific report released today has mapped out how to protect over a third of the world’s oceans in the next ten years – a target scientists say is crucial in order to safeguard wildlife and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

As governments meet at the UN this week to negotiate towards an historic Global Ocean Treaty, the report shows how this ambitious target could be achieved, through a network of ocean sanctuaries across the planet.

The report, titled 30×30: A Blueprint For Ocean Protection, is the result of a year-long collaboration between leading academics at the University of York, University of Oxford, and Greenpeace.

Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner, Jessica Desmond, says as an island nation with  the fourth largest EEZ on the planet, it’s vital New Zealand gets behind the Global Ocean Treaty.

“The strongest possible Global Oceans Treaty would include a global body to designate, monitor and implement marine sanctuaries internationally,” she says.

“As yet the New Zealand delegation has not fully committed to this approach, but if we leave it up to regional bodies to do this we will get the haphazard ‘status-quo’ of oceans protection, which has failed so far.”

The historic report explains how healthy global oceans, full of marine life and able to perform their vital climate regulation role, benefit all life on Earth, including coastal communities everywhere.

In one of the largest ever studies of its kind, researchers broke down the global oceans – which cover almost half the planet – into 25,000 squares of 100×100 kilometres, and mapped the distribution of 458 different conservation features, including wildlife, habitats and key oceanographic features, generating hundreds of scenarios for what a planet-wide network of ocean sanctuaries, free from harmful human activity, could look like.

Professor Callum Roberts, a marine conservation biologist at the University of York and one of the report’s authors, says the speed at which the high seas have been depleted of some of their most spectacular and iconic wildlife has taken the world by surprise.

“Extraordinary losses of seabirds, turtles, sharks and marine mammals reveal a broken governance system that governments at the United Nations must urgently fix,” he says.

“This report shows how protected areas could be rolled out across international waters to create a net of protection that will help save species from extinction and help them survive in our fast-changing world.”

Negotiations at the UN towards a Global Ocean Treaty could pave the way for the protection of oceans outside of national borders, that cover 230 million square kilometres. This research explores what it would mean to fully protect 30% and 50% of the global oceans, both widely discussed ambitions for conservation targets.

Various scenarios for protection, as well as wildlife hotspots and threats to the ocean, can be explored using this interactive map.

ENDS

30×30: A Blueprint For Ocean Protection Report:

Executive Summary here.

Full report.

Interactive Map here.

Photo and video:

For a free-to-use collection of ocean photo and video, see here.

Contacts:

Jessica Desmond, Greenpeace NZ Oceans campaigner: +64 21 065 1914

Ellie Hooper, Greenpeace NZ communications and media: +64 22 561 1340

Luke Massey, Greenpeace International communications and media luke.massey@greenpeace.org, +44 (0) 7973 873 155

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Latest ETS changes impotent without inclusion of agriculture

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

The Government has announced another range of changes to one of the country’s core policies to combat climate change, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Agricultural emissions remain completely excluded from the ETS.

Reacting to the changes Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop says the Government has, again, failed to include the country’s biggest climate polluter, agriculture, into the ETS.

“No amount of tinkering with the ETS will make it effective at dealing with climate change if the dairy industry keeps getting given a free pass for their massive climate pollution.

“Industrial dairying, fuelled by synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is polluting the climate and threatening life as we know it. This Government needs to put agriculture into the ETS at 100%, immediately.”

ENDS

Contact:
Gen Toop, Greenpeace Campaigner 021 316 840

Nick Young, Head of Communications, Greenpeace

Email: nick.young@greenpeace.org, Mobile: +64 (0)21 707 727

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Dairy and fertiliser lobbies will pop champagne over PCE report

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s (PCE) just-released report, Farms, Forests and Fossil Fuels, looks to have been influenced by the agricultural lobby, says Greenpeace.

Senior Campaign and Political Advisor, Steve Abel, says while the report has some merit, it continues to treat our dirtiest industry – dairy – with kid gloves, because it focuses on offsetting the highly potent greenhouse gasses nitrous oxide and methane, rather than actually cutting them.

“We expect the champagne corks will be popping at Ravensdown and Dairy NZ this afternoon, because they are being let off the hook once again,” he says.

Greenpeace opposes the unbundling of greenhouse gasses, which Abel says, “goes against our international obligations”.

“Unbundling greenhouse gasses and then lumping nitrous oxide and methane into their own group is highly problematic,” he says.

“We don’t support the recommendation that nitrous oxide be put together with methane in climate policy. Nitrous oxide is a long-lived greenhouse gas, 298 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. It is also the most problematic gas for depletion of the ozone layer.

“Both methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture must be urgently reduced at their source. That can only be done through eliminating synthetic nitrogen and heavily reducing cow numbers. We cannot primarily rely on offsetting these emissions through tree planting.”

Nitrous oxide emissions in agriculture come from the application of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and livestock effluent. According to the Ministry for the Environment, direct nitrous oxide emissions from synthetic nitrogen fertiliser in New Zealand have increased 478% since 1990.

Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is used on New Zealand farms to increase stocking rates. Since 1990, the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser has increased seven-fold in New Zealand. In the same period dairy cow numbers have more than doubled.

Abel says any serious response to the climate crisis must include the country’s biggest emitter – agriculture.

“To deal with the climate crisis requires a sense of massive, unified national effort, and this cannot be created if we are running a system which continues to privilege the agricultural industry and fails to deal with methane and nitrous oxide emissions at source,” he says.

“Privileging biological emissions also has international implications. Livestock produce 19% of global emissions, and it’s the area where New Zealand has a responsibility to offer global leadership.

“For New Zealand to dodge addressing agriculture is like Australia giving a free pass to the coal industry merely because they are hugely influential industries.

“We need the Government to listen to the science and the people and stand up to big lobbies like dairy, rather than kowtow to their influence.”

However, Abel says there are also positive aspects of the PCE report. Greenpeace supports the call for a cut to gross emissions of carbon dioxide, but says it must begin immediately and be achieved much sooner than 2075.

“We support getting to gross fossil fuel emissions down to zero, but waiting until 2075 is too late,” Abel says.

“To deal with the climate crisis requires an urgent transition away from industrial livestock farming. That starts with fewer cows, a ban on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and a nationwide shift to regenerative farming.”

ENDS

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Waking up to Idai. When extreme weather hits home

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Zimbabwe is a small country often known for its political and economic drama. But for those who truly know the country, they will tell you about its friendly people and idyllic weather. My father would often comment on just how perfect the weather in Zimbabwe was.

It’s hard to believe those words are describing the country I am seeing on the news right now. Cyclone Idai has left a path of complete destruction in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Millions are affected and the death toll and devastation continues to rise. The UN says this may be the worst disaster to ever hit this region.

Worst but not the first. Extreme weather events have been increasing in the region over the years:

  • This planting season, Zimbabwe experienced a mid-season drought caused by unusually high temperatures, threatening the harvest.
  • In 2000 both Mozambique and Zimbabwe were battered by Cyclone Eline.
  • And experts say the drying up of Malawi’s Lake Chilwa has increased due to climate change.

Locals stand beside a damaged section of the road between Beira and Chimoio in Nhamatanda district, central Mozambique, on March 19, 2019, after the area was hit by the Cyclone Idai. © ADRIEN BARBIER/AFP/Getty Images

The beautiful northeastern region of Zimbabwe, Chimanimani, home to lush green mountain ranges, is the hardest hit in the country. Roads, phone lines and homes have been destroyed and lives have been lost. Like many Zimbabweans in the diaspora, I felt frustrated being so far from home.

But after posting a plea on social media to find out how I could help, I was overwhelmed by the response. Despite the difficulties facing many in Zimbabwe, individuals, organisations, communities across the country came together and used their collective power to mobilise in mass and provide relief to those most affected.

Huge numbers of volunteers worked with local charities to mobilise donations for Cyclone Idai victims © Benevolent Masora for BLCK Media

Our planet’s climate continues to change and it’s upsetting to see the most vulnerable bear the worst of the devastating impacts. It’s worrying to know that this will not be the last time an event like this occurs at home, and it’s angering to know that this is something that leadership, not only in Africa but around the world, can take action on.

Climate change policy can no longer afford to be a side event to economic and social development in Zimbabwe and other African countries. The world needs to urgently act on its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

But as more volunteers and communities take action, I’m reminded that we are not helpless in all of this. People-powered movements are growing and demanding more climate action from governments and corporations than ever before.

Many are still in need of aid as the impact of Cyclone Idai slowly starts to be evident. Here are some organisations working to help those most affected:

You can also take action and stand up for climate justice by joining the movement here.

Kudzayi Ngwerume is a content editor with Greenpeace International

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Photos from school strike for climate on March 15

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

On Friday the 15th of March 1.5 million school students took to the streets in 123 countries out of fear for their future, love of our planet and anger at our leaders’ failure to act.They are asking policy-makers and business leaders: are you as smart as we are?Here are some of the images from around the world.

Wellington organiser Raven Maeder leads the 10,000 strong Wellington Climate Strike march on Parliament © David Tong

School students who are deciding not to attend classes and instead take part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

Student activists join the international movement and strike to show the climate crisis is the most important issue humanity faces. Strikes took place across the US and in more than 40 countries around the globe. © Livia Ferguson / Greenpeace

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Protesters during a Climate Change Awareness March on March 15, 2019, outside Sydney Town Hall, Australia. The protests are part of a global climate strike, urging politicians to take urgent action on climate change. James Gourley/Getty Images

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg at the demonstration. The Fridays for Future is an international movement of school students who are deciding not to attend classes and instead take part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

Students in Bangkok strike and demonstrate to support the School strike for the climate movement, also known as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate and Youth Strike 4 Climate. Students demand politicians to act urgently in order to prevent further global warming and climate change. © Biel Calderon / Greenpeace

Students in Bangkok strike and demonstrate to support the School strike for the climate movement, also known as Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate and Youth Strike 4 Climate. Students demand politicians to act urgently in order to prevent further global warming and climate change. © Biel Calderon / Greenpeace

Rome’s school student go on strike and take to the streets to protest about climate change. © Massimo Guidi / Greenpeace

Rome’s school student go on strike and take to the streets to protest about climate change. © Massimo Guidi / Greenpeace

School students in Hong Kong who are deciding not to attend classes and instead take part in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change.

PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 16: A protester holds a sign reading “Game over” as he takes part in the “March of The Century” (La Marche du Siecle) to demand answers to climate change on March 16, 2019, in Paris, France. Several thousand people demonstrated in Paris to denounce the government’s inaction on climate. © Chesnot/Getty Images

TOKYO, JAPAN – MARCH 15: Participants hold signs and shout slogans during the Fridays for Future march on March 15, 2019, in Tokyo, Japan. Students around the world took to the streets on March 15 to protest a lack of climate awareness and demand that elected officials take action on climate change. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old environmental activist who started skipping school since August 2018 to protest outside Sweden’s parliament, school and university students worldwide have followed her lead and shared her alarm and anger. © Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

Student activists join the international movement and strike to show the climate crisis is the most important issue humanity faces. Strikes took place across the US and in more than 40 countries around the globe. © Livia Ferguson / Greenpeace

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Hope beats hate

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Yesterday we saw the best, and the worst.

Thousands of young people came together to demand a brighter future, and a small group of far-right white nationalists carried out a cowardly act of terror at two Christchurch mosques.

Our hearts go out to the Muslim community, and to the people of Christchurch. We join all New Zealanders in grieving for those who were murdered and injured, and for their loved ones.

It’s a sad day for Aotearoa, and a sad day for people everywhere who harbour a love of all humankind living together on Earth in all our wonderful diversity.

It was a jarring contrast of hope and hate to have the dark events in Christchurch so closely follow the bright light of the school climate strike.

What should have been a day remembered for the peaceful calls of our striking rangatahi marching in the streets for climate justice, will now go down as one of the darkest in our country’s history.

To the young people who organised and participated in the School Strikes for Climate, you gave us hope on a dark day.

You stood for hope and for the future, united across cultures, across religions and united around the world.

Together we must keep that hope alive and stand for peace and cooperation.

As a nation we must grieve, but let’s also make sure that love and hope beats hate and ignorance.

In peace,

Russel Norman
Executive Director
Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand

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LIVE FEED: School Strikes For Climate

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Tomorrow on Friday 15th March young people all over the world will be walking out of school to Strike for the Climate. This movement, inspired by a 16 year old activist Greta Thunberg has grown from one person to a global movement.

Here is a live feed of their social media posts starting in NZ and then following on around the world:

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Greenpeace disturbed by directive to stop criticising companies

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Tuesday, 12 March: Greenpeace has been told to take down “provocative” billboards about synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against a series of Greenpeace billboards reading: “Ravensdown and Ballance Pollute Rivers – #TooManyCows”

In its decision, the ASA accepts the scientific basis of the ads stating that the “increased use of fertiliser has played a part in the intensification of dairying in New Zealand, and there has been increased pollution as a result.“

But the advertising body ruled against the billboards, stating that “targeting individual companies is provocative and taking advocacy a step further than is necessary.”

Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop has warned if the decision is upheld it could have a “chilling effect” on environmental and social advocacy.

“Civil society must be able to hold individual companies to account, especially when they are responsible for environmental destruction, like Ravensdown and Ballance are,” says Toop.

“It is very disturbing that the ASA has taken a position that companies which pollute the environment are above criticism. Free speech is a vital part of our democratic society.”

“The public have a right to know the names of companies that are polluting our environment.“

The billboards, which were installed on arterial routes around the country are the first tactic Greenpeace has rolled out in its new campaign to ban synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

In a split decision the ASA ruled that the billboards were “misleading”. Some of the reasons given include: “The font for the text “#TooManyCows” was much smaller and harder to read than the main message “Ravensdown and Balance Pollute Rivers”, and, as a result, this additional text could easily be missed, thereby distorting the message. And that “the message is over-simplified and potentially unclear”.

The ASA board was not unanimous in this decision. A minority of board members found that the three complaints made against the billboards should be dismissed.

“The science is simple – synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is fuelling industrial dairying and polluting our rivers. We have every right to call out the two companies, Ravensdown and Ballance, who are selling this destructive product,” says Toop.

Greenpeace has lodged an appeal of the decision.

ENDS

Contact: Greenpeace Campaigner Gen Toop

Link to the decision

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Meet the women taking on some of the world’s biggest climate polluters

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

These inspiring, determined, and hopeful women are fighting to hold oil, gas and coal companies accountable for climate change.

(L-R) Desiree Llanos Dee, Veronica ‘Derek’ Cabe, Marielle Trixie Bacason, with Johanna Fernandez from Greenpeace Southeast Asia. © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

Marielle Bacason was 22 when she experienced the storm that would change her life. On November 8, 2013, she held onto whatever she could as winds of up to 315 kilometres per hour (197 mph) destroyed everything in its path. When the wind finally died down and the storm surge subsided, this is what she saw:

“You could not distinguish the roads and dead bodies of people and animals everywhere. We feared for our safety everyday, especially during the night. We just wanted to leave Tacloban…I was traumatised,” she says.

In her hometown of Tacloban, in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines, southeast from the capital of Manila, her family home and everything she owned was damaged. Super Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm to hit the country killing over 6,300 people, though locals say the toll is much more.

Marielle Trixie Bacason, from Tacloban City in the Philippines commemorates the 5th anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan by holding a candle outside The House of Lords in Westminster, central London. © Jiri Rezac

Recovering from an event like this is no easy task. Marielle and others asked: Why me? Why did this happen? Who is responsible? For the past five years, Marielle has been trying to find the answers. That’s why she, along with other amazing women, are taking on some of the world’s largest coal, oil, gas and cement companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Shell, for contributing to human harms resulting from the impacts of climate change.

Triggered by a petition filed in 2015 by representatives of communities and organisations across the Philippines, this investigation by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines is the first of its kind to be launched by an independent constitutional office. The result, which won’t be known until early 2019, could be a game changer for the fossil fuel industry.

A family takes refuge in Tacloban City, Philippines after it was hit by Typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013. © Matimtiman

Working on Greenpeace’s climate justice campaign, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by warriors like Marielle, and the two leading Filipino lawyers – Hasminah Paudac and Grizelda “Gerthie” Mayo-Anda. Together, we are taking on powerful governments and corporations. There can be no climate justice without gender justice. As UN Womenexplains, women and girls “bear the brunt of economic, social, and environmental shocks” that come from climate change. In order to deal with the traditionally male-dominated coal, oil and gas industries that perpetuate climate injustices, the empowerment of women is one of the necessary solutions.

Veronica “Derek” Cabe is another community witness who is sharing her story as part of this legal battle. Veronica will tell the Commission about the impacts that Typhoon Ketsana – the second-most devastating tropical cyclone of the 2009 Pacific typhoon season – had on her family. She is actively involved in campaigns against nuclear and coal energy in the Philippines and is driven by a deep desire to protect the rights of her community.

“Big companies have a right to do business, but we have a right to live,” says Veronica. “I have experienced and seen the impacts of climate change on my people, and I’m a petitioner because I believe that we can exact accountability together.”

Veronica ‘Derek’ Cabe from Bataan in the Philippines poses for a photo at Tower Bridge in central London. © Jiri Rezac

Desiree Llanos Dee is a campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines. Her goal is to connect the dots between carbon producers and climate change, through the accounts and stories of those communities living with the consequences in her country. She was moved by the fight for climate justice when she joined the 60-day Climate Walk pilgrimage from Rome-to-Paris in 2015. Through that experience, she saw how people can instigate real change by telling and sharing their own stories.

“Climate justice is important because people have a hard time seeing who should be held accountable for its impacts,” says Desiree. “It’s about highlighting how people who have contributed least to the problem suffer the most. That’s why we seek justice. I think it is about waking people up to that concept and connecting the communities across the globe and reminding people why we need to fight together.”

Desiree Llanos Dee holding up an invitation for Shell to attend the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR) investigation into the responsibility of investor-owned carbon producers for climate-related human rights harms. © Pelle Berting

As a climate lawyer, it’s a daily uphill battle trying to protect this pale blue dot we call home. But it’s people – the mothers, daughters, fathers, grandparents – living on the frontlines of the climate crisis that get me out of bed every day. These brave people are now using the power of law to make change. It gives us hope of bringing greater justice and dignity to those most impacted by climate change and accelerating the energy transformation we all recognise needs to happen now. The law is an imperfect tool, yet one of the strongest we have.

Throughout the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines national inquiry, we see an opportunity to educate the fossil fuel industry and legal sector through the stories of women and transgender community leaders, the evidence of harm gathered, and documentation of how the fossil fuel industry is fuelling climate change and exacerbating inequalities.

Marielle, who is now 27 and working as a research nurse in London puts it simply:

“All I ask of these big companies is to allow our children, grandchildren, and the future generations to be able to enjoy an unspoiled planet. I just ask that they consider the long-term effects of their actions.”

Kristin Casper is Litigation Counsel for the Global Climate Justice and Liability campaign, working for Greenpeace International. Kristin has been supporting Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s efforts in the Commission’s inquiry, and with other lawyers and communities all over the world, using the power of the law to protect our rights to a stable climate system and healthy environment.

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Why care about Nitrogen? – Ask the UN

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

The United Nations has placed Nitrogen pollution on a hit list of the top five new environmental crises facing the globe.

A move which has huge implications for New Zealand and intensive dairy farming in particular.

Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop says “this new report should be all the Government needs to take action on the biggest nitrogen polluters in New Zealand – industrial dairying and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.”

The UN’s Frontiers report explores five of the most significant emerging issues on the environment.

It names nitrogen pollution “one of the most important issues facing humanity today” calling for “urgent action from nations around the world.”

The report highlights that the mass production of nitrogen-based fertilisers has transformed farming and is now causing “interference with the Earth’s nitrogen balance.”

Greenpeace is renewing calls for a ban on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and a radical transformation of the agricultural sector.

“So far this Government has sat on its hands and allowed the agricultural industry off the hook on every front – whether it’s river pollution, destruction of fragile landscapes like the Mackenzie or taking responsibility for their increasing climate emissions.”

Toop says global reports like this simply cannot be ignored.

“The entire farming sector must undergo far reaching and fundamental change and it needs to start now.”

The report compiles a chilling list of consequences from increasing nitrogen pollution, including freshwater pollution, algal blooms, oceanic dead zones, ozone depletion, soil degradation, death of wildlife and increasing nitrous oxide emissions.

Greenpeace says here in New Zealand evidence shows nitrate pollution in waterways and agricultural climate emissions both continue to worsen.

“In the last few decades in New Zealand synthetic nitrogen use has increased seven-fold and dairy cow numbers have doubled, ”says Toop.

”Too many cows and too much synthetic nitrogen fertiliser are killing our rivers, polluting the climate, degrading soils, pushing wildlife towards extinction and endangering human health.”

According to the Ministry for the Environment, the largest sources of nitrogen pollution into New Zealand’s rivers, in order of magnitude, are: urine from dairy cattle; urine from sheep: and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

As well as polluting the environment directly, synthetic nitrogen fertiliser has also caused the increase in nitrogen pollution from livestock urine by enabling higher stocking rates.

“The Government must completely ban synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, drastically reduce cow numbers and invest millions into regenerative farming,” says Toop.

Regenerative farming methods have been proven to produce the same amount of food, and retain farmer profitability without using any synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

ENDS

Notes:

Link to the Greenpeace petition calling on the Government to ban synthetic fertiliser.

Greenpeace billboard naming Synthetic Nitrogen Companies

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