Greenland Goes Green: No More New Oil and Gas Exploration

A Journal of People report

Greenland will no more go for new oil and gas exploration. Greenland government puts an end to new oil and gas exploration.

A CBS News report said:

“Greenland has suspended all new oil and gas exploration, the country’s government announced Thursday. Government officials said they believe the ‘price of oil extraction is too high,’ citing both economic considerations and the fight against climate change.

“‘This step has been taken for the sake of our nature, for the sake of our fisheries, for the sake of our tourism industry, and to focus our business on sustainable potentials,’ the government, called Naalakkersuisut, said in a statement.”

A report by The Weather Network (Greenland government puts an end to new oil and gas exploration, July 22, 2021) said:

“The Greenlandic government, Naalakkersuisut, has announced that the country will no longer issue new licenses for oil and gas exploration. A draft-bill was also issued to ban the preliminary investigation, exploration, and extraction of uranium.

“A study from The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) estimates that there are DKK 18 billion (approximately $3 million USD) de-risked barrels of oil on the west coast of Greenland as well as “large deposits” of oil underneath the ocean floor off the country’s east coast.

“However, the announcement that came on July 19 states that there are several reasons why future oil extraction will not be permitted.

“‘The Greenlandic government believes that the price of oil extraction is too high. This is based upon economic calculations, but considerations of the impact on climate and the environment also play a central role in the decision,’ the announcement states.

“‘Against this background, Naalakkersuisut has decided to cease issuing new licenses for oil and gas exploration in Greenland. This step has been taken for the sake of our nature, for the sake of our fisheries, for the sake of our tourism industry, and to focus our business on sustainable potentials.’”

The report said:

“Scientists say that Greenland and other regions in the Arctic are amongst the fastest warming places on the planet. A study (Niklas Boers and Martin Rypdal, “Critical slowing down suggests that the western Greenland Ice Sheet is close to a tipping point”) published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) states that the central-western part of the Greenland Ice Sheet could ‘undergo a critical transition relatively soon’ and that the entire island could be ice-free by the year 3000.

“In addition to the concerning rate of disappearing ice, other impacts from the thawing landscape include rising levels of mercury in meltwater and drastic changes in biodiversity.

“‘Naalakkersuisut takes climate change seriously. We can see the consequences in our country every day, and we are ready to contribute to global solutions to counter climate change. Naalakkersuisut is working to attract new investments for the large hydropower potential that we cannot exploit ourselves. The decision to stop new exploration for oil will contribute to place Greenland as the country where sustainable investments are taken seriously,’ stated Kalistat Lund, the Minister for Agriculture, Self-sufficiency, Energy and Environment.”

Greenland has four active exploration licenses, owned by two small companies, that the government will still be required to respect as long as licensees are still exploring, The Associated Press reported.

The Greenland government also announced that it has sent out a draft bill for consultation that would ban preliminary investigation, exploration and extraction of uranium.

Uranium, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a widely-used radioactive element that is now primarily used as fuel for nuclear energy. There are several ways to extract uranium, but all of them, according to the EPA, produce radioactive waste.

“The Greenlandic population has based its livelihood on the country’s natural resources for centuries, and the ban on uranium mining is rooted in a profound belief that business activities must take nature and the environment into account,” Naalakkersuisut said in a statement.

The study report “Critical slowing down suggests that the western Greenland Ice Sheet is close to a tipping point” said:

“The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is a potentially unstable component of the Earth system and may exhibit a critical transition under ongoing global warming. Mass reductions of the GrIS have substantial impacts on global sea level and the speed of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, due to the additional freshwater caused by increased meltwater runoff into the northern Atlantic. The stability of the GrIS depends crucially on the positive melt-elevation feedback (MEF), by which melt rates increase as the overall ice sheet height decreases under rising temperatures. Melting rates across Greenland have accelerated nonlinearly in recent decades, and models predict a critical temperature threshold beyond which the current ice sheet state is not maintainable. We investigate long-term melt rate and ice sheet height reconstructions from the central-western GrIS in combination with model simulations to quantify the stability of this part of the GrIS. We reveal significant early-warning signals (EWS) indicating that the central-western GrIS is close to a critical transition. By relating the statistical EWS to underlying physical processes, our results suggest that the MEF plays a dominant role in the observed, ongoing destabilization of the central-western GrIS. Our results suggest substantial further GrIS mass loss in the near future and call for urgent, observation-constrained stability assessments of other parts of the GrIS.”

It said:

“During the last century, the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has lost mass at an accelerating rate. The mass loss is caused by solid ice discharge into the North Atlantic and surface melting due to increasing temperatures. The relative contribution of the latter has increased from 42% before 2005 to 68% between 2009 and 2012, and surface runoff caused 84% of the increase in mass reduction since 2009. The complete melting of the GrIS would cause a global sea level rise of more than 7 m. Continued melting of the GrIS has been suggested to potentially lead to a collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation via increased freshwater flux into the North Atlantic, which may, in turn, trigger a cascade of transitions in additional tipping elements such as the Amazon rainforest and the tropical monsoon systems.”

China launches world’s largest carbon market: but is it ambitious enough?

Experts welcome the trading scheme, but question whether it is up to the task of helping China achieve its climate goals.

Bianca Nogrady

Nature | July 20, 2021

Steam billows out of chimneys of a coal-fired power plant in Hangzhou in east China’ s Zhejiang province.
A coal-fired power plant in Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang province.Credit: Feature China/Barcroft Media/Getty

China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has launched its first national emissions-trading scheme. Such carbon-pricing mechanisms exist in around 45 countries already, but China’s scheme, which began trading last week, is the world’s biggest.

It has been plagued by delays, and researchers argue it might not be ambitious enough to enable China to meet its emissions-reduction goals, including a 2030 deadline for peak emissions and a 2060 goal of net-zero emissions.

Read More »

Southeast Amazonia is no longer a carbon sink

Scott Denning

Nature | July 14, 2021

Since at least the inception of modern records of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the 1950s, there has been a small global excess (about 2%) in the amount of CO2 taken up by land plants for photosynthesis, compared with the amount emitted as a result of the decomposition of organic material. This land carbon sink has absorbed around 25% of all fossil-fuel emissions since 1960 (ref. 1)1, offsetting some global warming. Tropical forests have been a major component of the land carbon sink, and the largest intact tropical forest is in Amazonia. Writing in Nature, Gatti et al.2 report extensive direct sampling of the atmosphere over this region. Their data reveal that western Amazonia is still a relatively weak carbon sink, but suggest that deforestation and warming over eastern Amazonia have degraded — or even reversed — regional uptake of carbon by the forest.

Read More »
ENVIRONMENT 

Cyclone Yaas is Another Reminder of The Urgent Need for Coming Together to Face Difficult Times

Bharat Dogra

Countercurrents | May 27, 2021

One cyclone coming soon after another and that too in pandemic times need not and should not lead to a sense of helplessness. The country has  the capacity to overcome bigger challenges, and this has been revealed several times in the middle of great difficulties. In a more specific context,  frontline coastal states like Odisha and West Bengal have shown significant improvements in cyclone related preparations and rescue efforts. At the  level of its wide coastal region, the nation has improved the warning systems.

However we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. As there are definite and proven signs that  the threat from disasters in general and cyclones in particular in times of climate change is increasing, we need to improve our disaster-preparedness much more.Read More »

BIRDS

There are 50 billion wild birds on Earth – but four species dominate

Adam Vaughan

New Scientist | May 17, 2021

starlings
European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are one of the world’s most common birds
Arndt Sven-Erik/Arterra Picture Library/Alamy

Earth is home to around 50 billion wild birds according to a new global estimate, but most species are very rare and only a handful number in the billions.

Just four undomesticated species are in the club of those with a billion-plus individuals, with house sparrows (Passer domesticus) the most abundant, followed by European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) and barn swallows (Hirundo rustica). By contrast, 1180 species number fewer than 5000 birds each.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

What happened when the oceans went quiet during the pandemic? Scientists set to find out

Preetha Banerjee

Down To Earth | April 09, 2021

What happened when the oceans went quiet? Scientists set to find out

The reduced noise pollution during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic made the birds and the bees and other terrestrial creatures merry. In the underwater world, too, anthrophony (human-made sounds) reduced substantially for long months last year.

Scientists have now come together to understand the impact of these quiet months on the marine ecosystem.  The International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE) has identified a network of over 200 non-military hydrophones (underwater microphones) in oceans across the world.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT AND LIFE

Using green transport can prevent over 38,000 deaths in Africa’s Accra: WHO

Down To Earth | April 02, 2021

Using green transport can save over 38,000 lives in Africa's Accra: WHO. Photo: World Health Organization

Switching to sustainable modes of transportation can prevent around 5,500 premature deaths in Africa’s Accra by reducing air pollution, according to a new report by World Health Organization.

This can be achieved by increasing share of electronic mass transport, encouraging walking and cycling, and thus, reducing the overall use of cars, taxis and other motorcycles that cause air pollution, the report suggested.Read More »

CARBON FOOTPRINT 

J carbon footprint

A Journal of People report

As oil prices rallied and investor confidence in excessively punished oil stocks returned, the world’s oil billionaires became richer in the first quarter of 2021, adding a combined net worth of $51 billion in the first quarter. The energy tycoons from the U.S. to Russia and India boosted their fortunes at the fastest rate of any group in the Bloomberg index.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s richest people, U.S. oil tycoon Harold Hamm saw his net worth jump by $3.3 billion year to date to stand at $8.4 billion as of April 2.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

Humpback whales may have bounced back from near-extinction, but it’s too soon to declare them safe

Olaf Meynecke

The Conversation | April 01, 2021

A pod of humpback whales lunge feeding.
The resurgence of humpback whales is one of conservation’s greatest success stories. Shutterstock

The resurgence in humpback whale populations over the past five decades is hailed as one of the great success stories of global conservation. And right now, the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is considering removing the species from Australia’s threatened list.

But humpback whales face new and emerging threats, including climate change. Surveying whales is notoriously hard, and the government has not announced monitoring plans to ensure humpback populations remain strong after delisting. We need a plan to keep them safe.Read More »

ECOLOGY 

Protect fish to produce more food and reduce greenhouse gas

Tim Radford

Climate New Network | March 25 2021

Menhaden catch, destined for use as fertilizer and pet food. (Wikimedia Commons)

Scientists have identified a sure way towards more profitable fishing: don’t do it. Protect fish and leave as much of the seas as possible untouched.

To convert the right stretches of the blue planet into marine sanctuaries would actually deliver bigger hauls than any uncontrolled harvests could promise. It could also protect marine wildlife and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.Read More »