Greenpeace in Greenland

Greenpeace campaigners have scaled Cairn Energy’s new drilling operation off the coast of Greenland and are calling for a world beyond oil:

The place we’re heading for – the world beyond oil – will be cleaner, healthier and more peaceful. We won’t get there overnight, but we’re already on the way. Many of the solutions are out there. Others need greater political support and investment to make them happen. Ultimately we need to transition to a zero carbon transport system where pretty much all our vehicles run on electricity, powered by the sun, sea and wind – energy that won’t run out. In the meantime we need to start reducing the oil we use.

We also need to stop our money – whether through our pension funds or our taxes – being used to keep us stuck in the oil age. Currently direct government subsidies to fossil fuel industries are 10 times the amount to clean energy – we need to reverse this trend and put clean energy technologies on a level playing field with fossil fuels so that clean energy can complete in the market place.

Coal may be the most worrisome fossil fuel, when it comes to the sheer quantity that exists on Earth, but there are also scary amounts of unconventional oil and gas out there. Rather than invest our talents and resources in pulling out the last desperate drops of fossil fuel, we should be working on building a sustainable, clean, zero-carbon global energy system.

Good on Greenpeace for seeing the big picture.

8 thoughts on “Greenpeace in Greenland

  1. .

    Greenpeace Cairn rig activists arrested off Greenland

    Four Greenpeace activists have been arrested after giving up their occupation of a Scottish company’s drilling rig off Greenland.

    The environmental group boarded the rig, operated on behalf of Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy, earlier this week.

    Greenpeace said they gave up after the weather changed for the worse.

    A Cairn spokesman told the BBC Scotland news website operations had started again on the Stena Don after the Greenpeace action ended.

    The spokesman added: “The actions taken by Greenpeace remain a matter for the Greenlandic authorities.”

    Police on Greenland earlier said the activists would face prosecution for their actions.

  2. Pingback: Dangerous offshore drilling

  3. .

    European countries reject Atlantic oil-drilling ban proposal

    Countries bordering the northeast Atlantic have rejected a proposal to ban deep-sea offshore drilling, Norway said Friday. The plan was an attempt to avoid an environmental disaster comparable to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    The ban was proposed by Germany at a meeting in the western Norwegian city of Bergen of the OSPAR Commission. OSPAR is a body through which the 15 countries with western coasts and catchments of Europe, together with the European Union, cooperate to protect the environment of the Northeast Atlantic.

    The proposal was quickly withdrawn following pressure from the region’s oil-producing countries, namely Norway, Denmark, and Britain, Greenpeace said.

  4. .

    We can’t use it – so why the heck are we prospecting for new oil?

    To stop runaway climate change we have to get out of fossil fuels. Drilling off Shetland and in the Arctic makes no sense

    Forget, for a moment, the fragility of the Arctic environment and the likely consequences of a spill there. Forget the dangers of deepwater drilling in a strait plagued by storms and icebergs, and the difficulties – greater than in the Gulf of Mexico – of capping a leaking well there. There’s an even bigger question raised by a British company’s discovery of oil off the coast of Greenland. It’s the same question that is invoked by the decision the British government is expected to make tomorrow: to allow exploration wells to be drilled in deep waters to the west of Shetland. Why the heck are we prospecting for new oil anyway?

    It’s not a difficult issue to grasp. If we burn just 60% of current global reserves of fossil fuels, we produce two degrees of warming. We cannot afford to use what has already been discovered, let alone to find more. Yet no one in either the current or past governments has been prepared to engage with it. Before the election I confronted the environment spokesmen of the three major parties with this question. Only Ed Miliband seemed fully to grasp the point, but even he brushed it aside. The other two blustered and stumbled, while failing to resolve a fundamental contradiction in their manifestos: they were seeking simultaneously to reduce demand for fossil fuels and increase supply.

    Before the election, the Conservatives promised to wean us off hydrocarbons – and to extract remaining oil reserves in the North Sea “to the fullest possible extent”. The Lib Dems made the same two promises, announcing that they would “secure the maximum long-term benefit to the UK economy of the remaining North Sea reserves”. The new energy secretary, Chris Huhne, has repeated the pledge. The government has promised new tax breaks for oil companies working in UK waters in next year’s finance bill.

  5. .

    As I write, four Greenpeace campaigners are treading water in the open seas 100 miles off the Shetland islands. They are trying to prevent a drilling ship commissioned by Chevron from reaching its destination. Their case is sound. The West of Shetland Task Force, a federation of oil companies and government officials, classifies the area in which Chevron is trying to drill as an “extreme/hostile environment”. The company intends to hunt for oil in 1,570 metres of water – roughly the depth at which the Deepwater Horizon was working – in an area of high winds and strong currents.

    In June Chris Huhne claimed that “the impacts of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon give us pause for thought, particularly given the beginning of exploration in deeper UK waters west of Shetland”. The pause lasted a millisecond. Even as he raised these concerns, his department was discussing tax breaks and exemptions with the companies hoping to work there. At a summit in Norway last week the UK government scuppered German proposals for an international review of deepwater drilling. BP is now lined up behind Chevron to prospect a region even harder to exploit safely than the deepwater fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The government insists (at the time of writing) that it hasn’t yet decided whether to grant exploration licences for the seas to the west of Shetland. I suggested to its spokeswoman that Chevron would not be spending its money and risking its reputation by dispatching an exploratory vessel to the drilling grounds unless it had received a pretty strong steer from the government that its application would be approved when it got there. “You could say that,” she replied. Since 2006, oil companies have been carving up this region with the government’s approval, in discussions to which we have not been party.

    Preventing runaway climate change means getting out of fossil fuels. It means renouncing two-fifths of existing reserves. It also means a global moratorium on prospecting, not just in deep water, but everywhere. If we can’t use it, we should stop looking for it.”

  6. .

    Cairn Energy refuse to publish full oil spill plan

    The Scots-based energy firm involved in oil exploration in the Arctic has refused to publish full details of its contingency plan should a spill occur.

    Cairn Energy, based in Edinburgh, is at the forefront of the push to open up oil supplies off Greenland.

    The company and the Greenland government told a BBC Scotland investigation team the plan was secret to prevent sabotage by “third parties”.

    The lack of transparency has prompted concern from environmental groups.

    Some estimates have suggested that the Arctic region could contain up to a quarter of the world’s remaining oil reserves.

    Cairn is due to resume its operations in the region next spring after spending the summer carrying out exploration work.

    Dr Martin Preston, a marine pollution expert at the University of Liverpool, said the plans that were currently in the public domain gave little detail about how Cairn would deal with a spill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *