Over 400 scientists speak out against gas drilling in North Sea
A group of 432 scientists harshly criticized the Dutch government’s plans for gas drilling in the North Sea with Germany in an open letter on Wednesday. The scientists said that exploring new fossil fuel fields is at odds with the ambition to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Science is crystal clear that we are in a climate emergency. Any further delay in phasing out fossil fuels makes it increasingly unlikely that we will limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the safest target in the Climate Agreement,” the scientists said.
Early this month, State Secretary Hans Vijlbrief of Economic Affairs announced that the Netherland and Germany would start new gas drilling in a gas field north of Schiermonnikoog. They expect the first gas to be transported to land by pipeline in 2024. The Ministry called new natural gas fields a contribution to a more sustainable energy supply.
But the scientists don’t understand that reasoning. “They ignore several scientific warnings against the development of new fossil fuels projects including natural gas,” they wrote. The scientists referred to several scientific publications, including the most recent IPCC report warning that existing and planned fossil fuel infrastructure’s projected emissions already take us over the 1.5 degrees target.
“We, the undersigned scientists and academics working at Dutch universities, colleges, and research institutes, call on the Dutch government to take the climate crisis seriously and immediately stop licensing new infrastructure for the extraction of fossil fuels.”
The signatories - including Han Dolman of the Royan Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), professor Bart van den Hurk of water and climate risk at VU Amsterdam, and professor Susan Steele-Dunne of hydrology at TU Delft - will present the letter to State Secretary Vijlbrief and Minister Rob Jetten for Climate and Energy on Wednesday.