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Greenland to halt all oil exploration as it 'takes climate change seriously'

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By Euronews with AP
Greenland says the its future is not in oil but in renewable energy
Greenland says the its future is not in oil but in renewable energy   -   Copyright  John Mcconnico/2007 AP
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Greenland will halt all oil exploration despite retreating ice uncovering a potential fortune of oil and mineral resources, the government has announced, adding that it "takes the climate crisis seriously".

The Inuit Ataqatigiit-led government made the decision on June 24 but announced it on Thursday as the next "natural step" for the semiautonomous territory.

Despite a lack of oil being found around the Arctic island so far, officials have previously seen possible vast reserves that could be uncovered due to climate change.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there is around 17.5 billion undiscovered barrels of oil and 148 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off Greenland.

If tapped successfully, these reserves could dramatically change the fortunes of the island's 57,000 citizens - and could have paved the way to the long-held dream of independence from Denmark.

However, the Greenland government said in a statement: "The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect we have much more to gain."

It added that seeks "to take co-responsibility for combating the global climate crisis."

The announcement was met on Friday with praise from environmental group Greenpeace, which said the news was "fantastic".

“And my understanding is that the licenses that are left have very limited potential,” Mads Flarup Christensen, Greenpeace Nordic’s general secretary, told weekly Danish tech-magazine Ingenioeren.