Greenland dropped all plans for future oil exploration on environmental grounds, saying the value of extraction was “too excessive.”
The island’s socialist-led authorities, in workplace since April, has made local weather issues central to its legislative program. Whereas the choice to scrap deliberate exploration is a win for environmental teams, it cuts off potential investments that would have aided efforts to realize financial independence from Denmark.
The federal government “has determined to stop issuing new licenses for oil and fuel exploration,” it mentioned in an announcement. “This step has been taken for the sake of our nature, for the sake of our fisheries, for the sake of our tourism business, and to focus our enterprise on sustainable potentials.”
Ten years in the past, Greenland had develop into a hotspot for drillers as a commodity-price increase attracted not solely oil explorers however miners of diamonds, iron, uncommon earths and different metals. However crude’s subsequent crash made extraction uneconomic offshore—the place drilling could be hampered by massive floating icebergs—and the official ban now places an finish to goals of vitality riches.
Though the Inuit Ataqatigiit ruling occasion campaigned on searching for higher autonomy from Denmark—which nonetheless oversees Greenland’s overseas, protection and financial insurance policies—its program has but to supply a sustainable various to Danish financial help for its 56,000 inhabitants, which quantities to about $600 million a yr.
The choice to desert oil exploration comes amid more and more alarming indicators of worldwide warming for Greenlanders. Common sea ranges have risen about 9 inches since 1880, and a couple of quarter of that improve comes from ice melting within the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets, together with land-based glaciers elsewhere, in accordance with a research revealed in Nature in Could.
Greenland’s west coast alone is estimated to include about 18 billion barrels of oil, in accordance with a current research from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. The U.S. Geological Survey has beforehand estimated that there could also be double that quantity in crude and pure fuel within the east.
The island isn’t banning all mineral exploration. Earlier this month, Canadian miner AEX Gold Inc. — already the most important exploration license holder on the territory — utilized for one more allow to probe for copper and gold within the south. However fossil fuels are out.
“The Greenlandic authorities believes that the value of oil extraction is just too excessive,” it mentioned within the assertion. “That is based mostly upon financial calculations, however concerns of the affect on local weather and the atmosphere additionally play a central function within the resolution.”
Numerous different European international locations have additionally scrapped plans for oil exploration in recent times, together with Denmark itself, France, Spain and Eire.