Scientists urge government ‘junkies’ not to drill for North Sea gas


Over 400 scientists in the Netherlands have written to the government urging it not to allow drilling for gas in the North Sea, close to the Wadden island of Schiermonnikoog.

Allowing the development of new gas fields runs counter to international ambitions to reduce the rise in the earth’s temperature to 1.5 Celsius and phase out the use of gas, the 432 scientists from Scientists for Future NL and Scientist Rebellion
NL say.

Earlier this month, mines minister Hans Vijlbrief gave the green light to the plan, despite the government’s commitment to phase out the use of gas and opposition from the Wadden islands themselves.

‘The ministry says investing in new gas production is a necessary step towards developing a sustainable energy supply, but it is ignoring several scientific warnings against the development of new fossil fuels projects including natural gas,’ the scientists say.

‘If we now drill in the North Sea, it means we cannot kick our fossil fuel addiction,’ said signatory Han Dolman, who is director of the Dutch institute for marin research NIOZ. ‘It is a bit like the junkie who says ‘I want to quit, but give me one last shot,’ he told Radio 1 news.

The first gas from the field is due to be pumped ashore in 2024.

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