Greenland has halted oil exploration due to concerns about climate change.
Greenland’s left-leaning government has decided to halt all offshore oil exploration, calling the move “a natural step” because the Arctic government “takes the climate crisis seriously.”
Although no oil has been discovered in Greenland to date, officials saw potentially vast reserves as a way to assist Greenlanders in achieving their long-held dream of independence from Denmark by reducing the Danish territory’s annual subsidy of 3.4 billion kroner ($519 million).
Global warming means that receding ice may expose potential oil and mineral resources that, if successfully exploited, could significantly alter the fortunes of the 57,000-person semiautonomous territory.
“Oil is not the future. Renewable energy is the way of the future, and we stand to gain significantly more in that regard “Greenland’s government announced the move in a statement. The government stated that it “wants to share the burden of resolving the global climate crisis.”
Although the decision was made on June 24, it became public on Thursday.
The US Geological Survey estimates that there could be 17.5 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 148 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas off Greenland, despite the island’s remote location and harsh climate.
When the current government took office in April, led by the Inuit Ataqatigiit party, it immediately began fulfilling election promises and halting plans for uranium mining in southern Greenland.
Greenland retains four active hydrocarbon exploration licenses, which it is required to maintain for the duration of the licensees’ active exploration. They are owned by two small businesses.
The government’s decision to halt oil exploration was hailed as “fantastic” by environmental group Greenpeace.
“And from what I understand, the remaining licenses have very limited potential,” Mads Flarup Christensen, Greenpeace Nordic’s general secretary, told the weekly Danish technology magazine Ingenioeren.
Denmark makes foreign, defense, and security policy and provides annual assistance to Greenland, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the Arctic island’s economy.