Isle of Man Climate Change Coalition steering group dismayed by misguided decision to issue extended licences to survey

The Isle of Man Climate Change Coalition steering group are dismayed by the misguided decision to issue extended licences to survey for and potentially extract new gas deposits in our territorial waters. 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 and other concerned citizens have been pointing this out for many years, and our Government cannot be unaware of our representations, nor the dire warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It is three years since Government recognized the climate emergency. We eventually were delivered a Climate Change Act, and the Climate Change Transformation Team. This should have led to radical, just and equitable 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 as the Pulrose gas turbines are due to be decommissioned by 2034 in any case.

We cannot be any clearer about the unequivocal climate science, nor the unnecessary harm to marine life caused by deep seismic surveying of a fossil fuel deposit which we should never use. The Council of Ministers are well aware of the facts but choose to ignore them, backtracking on their promises to support urgent climate action. They must also dissociate themselves from the fallacy of gas being a transition fuel, we are nearly twenty years into our transition from oil and can no longer hide behind this.

We will continue in good faith to engage constructively with Tynwald members and government officers in the hope that the island can still ditch the prevarication and address the vital promises made to deal with the climate emergency as an actual emergency.

We would urge our fellow citizens to see through the false, opportunistic linking of this decision to the current cost of living crisis. Be under no illusion that this possible gas deposit will in any way bring financial relief to anyone living here. Not only is any useable supply many years down the line, it would not be "our" gas. The gas would be sold into the  wholesale gas market by the producers, at the price the market sets. The notion that the producers would be willing or able to sell us cheaper energy is completely misleading.

This decision is the most backward step imaginable. We will be looking closely at the imminent five year climate change action plan to see how Government can attempt to rationalize this new dash for gas.

From Pete Christian and Paul Weatherall on behalf of the Climate Change

Coalition Steering  Group