^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Wed, 26 Mar 97 04:03:00 GMT From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Greenpeace in Sea Buy-up plan Greenpeace in Sea Buy-up plan By Paul Riddell, PA News Environmental group Greenpeace has launched a bid to halt oil and gas exploration off the western coast of Britain by bidding for a licence to a huge section of sea. The body, whose profile rose on the back of its campaign against dumping the Brent Spar oil buoy, has offered 3,000 for the latest round of Government production licenses. It wants to use the 22,000 square miles of the Atlantic for research into marine life instead of exploiting it for fossil fuels which may contribute further to global warming. Greenpeace believes it has fulfilled all the requirements of the application by providing a detailed workplan. An in-depth scientific study of whale movement in the area would form part of its activities. A spokesman dismissed suggestions that the bid was a "stunt" designed to gain further publicity and claimed the group wanted to enter into a mature debate with Mr Lang over global warming. Industry sourcessaid the exploration licences themselves cost just under 3,000 - with the real costs being sunk into drilling for oil and gas, construction and production. The Department of Trade and Industry, which is expected to award the 17th round of licences prior to the general election, refused to dismiss the application out of hand. A spokesman said the documents submitted by Greenpeace were being examined to see if they met the threshold criteria and regulations laid down when the round was advertised in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Chris Rose, Greenpeace's deputy executive director, said: "Our plan is to do what the Government should do and set aside these 22,000 square miles instead of drilling for oil. Our aim is to set a precedent where the Government has failed to act. "Human-made climate change has to be stopped and meeting eco limits means placing a limit on fossil fuels. "Opening 22,000 square miles of pristine ocean for new oil development is hardly a limiting exercise - it's madness fuelled by greed." The environmental group, whose campaign against oil giant Shell allied with massive international backing forced the company to ditch plans to dump the abandoned Brent Spar in the Atlantic in 1995, claimed that while the Government wanted to limit fossil fuel, its policy was to increase its development. The group would not exploit the blocks, which stretch from north of Shetland right down to the coast off Cornwall, because of the "insanity" of contributing to further climate change. In a letter to the President of the Board of Trade Ian Lang, Mr Rose said: "We are firmly of the view that there is currently no justification for extracting oil from this area. "We hope that, as outlined in your official announcement, you will judge our application `against the background of the continuing need for expeditions ... and with due regard to environmental considerations'," he added. Citing evidence from the Intergovernmental Panelon Climate Change and the European Union's policy to keep the global mean temperature rise to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, Mr Rose said the carbon "budget" stood at 585 billion tonnes. "This is considerably less than the fossil fuel resources currently earmarked as `economic' reserves which currently stand at over 1,000 billion tonnes of carbon." Mr Rose said: "The greatest implications for you to consider are the effect such development has on our ability to control the rate of climate change in the next century, via the expansion of fossil fuel supply. "A simple analysis of carbon cycle models indicates that we cannot avoid dangerous rates of increase of temperature and sea level if we extract and burn all known reserves of fossil fuels." He added: "The inescapable conclusion of this climate logic is that the over-riding need for UK energy and industrial policy, just as for other industrialised countries, is to ensure that most oil, coal and gas remain below the ground and to promote investment in the alternatives to fossil fuels." Mr Rose stated that initial research conducted in the area revealed the importance of deep sea life forms in the Atlantic was high. "If you reject our application and allow the oil industry to open up new deep sea reserves of fossil carbon you will be unleashing an enormous expansion of the oil industry in Europe, with implications for frontier marine environments around the world and for the expansion of fossil carbon reserves in other regions," he said. But the oil companies' umbrella organisation, the UK Offshore Operators' Association, said Greenpeace could not be considered as a serious contender for the licences. Bryan Taylor, UKOOA's director of technical affairs, said: "The licences are for exploration for oil and gas. "I cannot imagine that Greenpeace's application would be taken seriously because they would not fulfil the necessary DTI requirements. "It's difficult to believe that this is a serious application. I would be reluctant to accuse them of pulling a stunt. There is no way they will be able to extract the nation's oil and gas reserves."