Why drilling for oil in the Arctic is downright crazy

As China and Iceland signed last week a treaty on arctic oil and as a small spill declared in Russia, I thought it was appropriate to write about a previous article from Climate Progress on the risks of such practices.

As Kiley Kroh noted there: ” Analysts at one of the world’s largest insurance markets are warning that offshore drilling in the Arctic would “constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk ”

“Lloyd’s of London, a large UK-based insurance pool, issued a report today outlining the severe environmental and economic risk of oil and gas drilling in Arctic waters.”

The article goes on :

The stunning report comes as Royal Dutch Shell prepares for exploratory drilling operations in the Arctic – even while leading experts warn that there’s virtually no infrastructure in place to clean up an oil spill in the fragile region.

(…)It’s easy for oil companies to dismiss environmentalists concerned about the Arctic as politically-motivated. But when a centuries-old company that has made billions of dollars judging risks and insuring everything from Betty Grable’s legs to the World Trade Center’s new Freedom Tower, thinks an operation might be a little too edgy for them, it ought to make oil companies stand up and take notice.

In another article, Climate Progress also notes that a major German bank will refuse any funding of oil and gas activities as the “risks and costs are simply too high.”

As Climate hawks are increasingly calling to leave fossil fuels in the ground, drilling for oil in the Arctic won’t change anything in terms of gas prices or oil reserve…

However, it might – no, it WILL – sooner or later pollute in the most dramatic way one of the last places where Man hasn’t done too much damage yet.

When will our representatives act on climate change, energy and so on ? Are they waiting for 2020, when it will be too late ?

Are we going to let the climate crisis go like the sovereign debt one ? (ie. Do nothing, the future generations will tackle the issues with their newfound superpowers…)


Edouard is a sustainability and energy professional committed to bringing our societies to a carbon neutral future. He has been writing on related topics on this very blog since 2007.

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