Two climate groups have said they oppose the extension of Crogga Limited’s licence to search for oil and gas in Manx territorial waters being granted by the government.
An extension of 27 months was granted to the Manx company to explore for gas in the Isle of Man seabed, following a four-month licence extension granted by the Department of Infrastructure in December 2021.
It originally issued Crogga with a Seaward Production Innovative Licence in October 2018.
The Isle of Man Green Party has said it is ‘alarmed’ at the decision.
The group said that while the leading science is compelling us to take immediate action to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, the government is ‘taking direct action to support fossil fuel exploration’.
‘If prospective deposits should exist, they will represent fuel that cannot be burned, in order to avoid extreme climate change that is directly impacting the Isle of Man,’ it said.
In 2019, Adrian Cowin, senior meteorological officer, said: ‘Since the mid-1980s there has been a steady rise in both the maximum average temperature and the minimum average temperatures. It is quite stunning when we graph that, that we get a change over that period of about 0.8°C-1.0°C.
‘A warmer climate can carry more moisture and more energy; therefore, we’re talking about the atmosphere being more turbulent, more stormy, you can end up with more gales, you can end up with more rainfall events, heavy rainfall events.’
The Green Party added that that threat translates into ‘an urgent need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels today’.
Last year, both the International Energy Agency and the United Nations Environment Programme published reports stating that there could not be any new gas exploration projects from 2021 in order to avoid extreme climate change, according to the group.
It said: ‘The decision of Minister Crookall and the Department of Infrastructure has entirely ignored that threat.’
In an effort to understand why the decision was made, the Green Party wrote to Infrastructure Minister Tim Crookall on May 5, asking him to explain the reasons why the decision was made and to justify how it is compliant with the department’s legal duties under section 21 of the Climate Change Act 2021.
At the time of publication, no reply has been received from Mr Crookall.
The Isle of Man Climate Change Coalition steering group said it was ‘dismayed’, labelling the decision as ‘misguided’.
It said: ‘It has long been absolutely clear that the bulk of existing fossil fuel deposits must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid the worst consequences of global heating and climate chaos.
‘We have been pointing this out for many years, and our government cannot be unaware of our representations. It is three years since government recognised the climate emergency. We eventually were delivered a Climate Change Act, and the Climate Change Transformation Team.
‘This should have led to a radical transition to renewable energy supply as an urgent priority.
‘But now the Council of Ministers have undermined the project, and public confidence in what we as a responsible nation should be doing, by permitting new fossil fuel extraction.
‘It flies in the face of science and ethics, and is nonsensical.’
It argued it was a ‘backwards step’ and it would be looking closely at the imminent five year climate change action plan to see how the government could ‘attempt to rationalise this new dash for gas’.
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