Open Letter to Chief Minister from the Island's Climate Change Coalition, in advance of his planned statement to Tynwald

Dear Chief Minister,

We note that the Council of Ministers have not brought a revised emissions target to the July Tynwald, 

as promised; instead, you plan to give a statement. The Island’s Climate Change Coalition is 

anticipating you addressing the following five issues:

1. Recognising that the declared Climate Emergency precludes any

exploitation of fossil fuel resources in Manx waters. The Climate

Change Coalition’s reasoning has already been published but we

reiterate it here:

The vast bulk of existing proven fossil fuel deposits must be left

in the ground for the world to have any chance of keeping to 1.5

degrees C global heating.

After nearly twenty years of using gas as a transition fuel we

must not hide behind this and continue dependence on fossil

fuels for our energy generation. The whole point is to complete

a transition to renewables, not to stand still.

We have duties as a UNESCO Biosphere. UNESCO Man &

Biosphere documents assert that “Biosphere Reserves act as

privileged windows for developing sustainable projects based

on the maximum use of renewable energy resources.”

Surveying and possible drilling for gas has dire consequences for

our marine environment and is in contravention of our

commitment as signatory to the Agreement on the Conservation

of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, Northeast Atlantic, Irish and

North Seas or ASCOBANS. This requires parties to work towards

“the prevention of other significant disturbance, especially of an

acoustic nature.”

The Isle of Man Wildlife Act Section 9(4A) also states that any

person who intentionally or recklessly disturbs any wild animal

included in Schedule 5, including whales, dolphins, basking

sharks, is guilty of an offence. As scientists and the fossil fuel

industry acknowledge the disturbance caused, it would be

reckless to sanction intensive seismic blasting in Manx waters.

One of the Government’s three stated energy priorities is energy

security. Drilling for gas will not deliver any sort of new security,

as any gas will need to be piped to the UK for processing, as

stated in Government policy papers previously. It could never be

acceptable to build a processing plant on the island, with a

carbon- heavy construction and the damage associated with

laying a pipeline through a sensitive marine environment.

2. A second interconnector between the Island and the electricity grid

in the UK. We understand that the MUA have a budgetary

allocation this current financial year to identify a route. We find it

difficult to believe that this has not been identified long ago and call

for steps to be taken to commission this as a matter of urgency.

3. Progress on commissioning both onshore and offshore wind

turbines is given immediate, urgent focus

4. The Green Living Grant scheme is updated to address inadequacies.

proposals remain totally inadequate for most householders. We ask

that it is further amended to include low-cost, long-term loans to

assist property owners to improve insulation and move from fossil

fuel heating systems.

5. Changes to planning regulations are passed immediately to ensure

that all new-builds and proposals for development of existing

properties must include the highest standards of insulation, solar

panels on roofs and a ban on fossil fuel heating systems.

There are many areas demanding your government’s attention in response to the emergencies from 

climate change and the threat to biodiversity, not just globally, but also here on the Island. For 

example,  we would urge your attention to also be upon planting more trees, protecting peatland and 

sea grass reserves, assisting our farmers to adapt and ensuring the principle of ‘just transition’ – that the 

changes that we make don’t impact to the detriment of Island residents already facing uncertainty over 

food and fuel price inflation. We believe, however that the key decisions listed above deserve 

immediate  attention and we look forward to them being fully addressed when you make your 

statement to Tynwald.

NOTE: The IoM Climate Change Coalition is a broad coalition of 25 organisations: charities such as 

Beach Buddies, Manx Wildlife Trust and One World Centre; organisations such as Christian Aid and 

Friends of the Earth; and all three of the Island’s political parties – Manx Labour, Liberal Vannin and 

Green Party. Our reach extends into the thousands.