Greenland announces that they have suspended all exploration for oil

The world’s largest island, Greenland, has suspended exploration for oil due to “climate change.”

Oil has not been discovered on or surrounding the island yet but there is a possibility that there could be potentially vast reserves of oil and mineral resources uncovered. This potential discovery was seen as a possible way for Greenlanders to achieve long-desired independence from Denmark. Plentiful oil reserves would dramatically change the economy and fortune of the small population of Greenland.

The Greenland government made this decision and, as reported by ABC News, said that it is the “natural step” when considering the effects of climate change. They also stated that they believed the future belonged to renewable energy instead of oil and that they wanted to take responsibility and do their part in the fight against climate change.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated a possible 17.5 billion barrels of untouched oil and 148 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This immense amount of undiscovered oil would make the annual grant from Denmark that supports almost two-thirds of the island’s economy unnecessary.

This decision, made on June 24th, was recently made public and was applauded by Greenpeace, calling it “fantastic”. Greenland still has four hydrocarbon exploration licenses that are held by two small companies and are viewed as having very little potential. Greenland’s government believes that they stand to gain more by focusing on renewable energy instead of oil.

Axios reported a statement from Naaja Nathanielsen, Greenlands Minister of Natural Resources, in which she said, “As a society, we must dare to stop and ask ourselves why we want to exploit a resource…It is the position of the Greenlandic government that our country is better off focusing on sustainable development, such as the potential for renewable energy.”

According to the Naalakkersuisut Government of Greenland webpage, the government put out that they will also be halting the extraction of uranium from the island. The webpage states, “The Greenlandic government, Naalakkersuisut, remains committed to developing the country’s vast mineral potential, where this does not involve the extraction of uranium. Therefore, a draft bill has just been sent out for consultation, which bans preliminary investigation, exploration, and extraction of uranium in Greenland.”



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