The Greenland government has decided to suspend all oil exploration on the world’s largest island, saying it is a “natural move” as Arctic officials “take the climate crisis seriously”.
No oil has been discovered in Greenland so far, but officials saw the opportunity to find vast reserves as a way to help Greenlanders fulfill their dream of gaining independence from Denmark, ending a grant of 3.4 billion kroner (540 million kroner). Dollars) Danish territory.
Global warming could expose potential mineral and oil resources by melting ice, which, if successfully explored, could dramatically change the future of the semi-autonomous region of 57,000 people.
“The future is not in the oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that sense we have much more to gain, ”the left-wing Greenland government said in a statement. The government “wants to take collective responsibility in the fight against climate change.”
The decision was made on June 24, but was not made public until Thursday.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 17.5 billion barrels of undigested crude oil and 4.19 trillion cubic meters (148 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas may be found in Greenland waters, although the distance to the island and its climatic habitat are limited.
When the current government, led by the Inuit Atacadikit party, came to power after the April parliamentary elections, it immediately began work to fulfill its campaign promises and halted plans to search for uranium in the south of the island.
There are four more active hydrocarbon research licenses in Greenland, and the two smaller companies that have obtained them are forced to comply with them until they are explored.
An environmental group called Greenspeace praised the government’s decision to stop looking for oil, saying it was “fantastic”.
“To my understanding, the remaining licenses have very limited power,” Mats Florb Christensen, general secretary of Greenspeace’s Nordic region, told Danish technology magazine Ingenio.
Denmark determines Greenland’s foreign, security and defense policy, and provides an annual subsidy of two – thirds of the economy.