Despite the outcome of the IPCC latest report, COP21 and a new socialist government in Portugal. The new Portuguese Prime Minister says gas and oil exploration in the Algarve is to continue! A group of concerned citizens in the Algarve have been campaigning against the oil and gas companies efforts to explore and exploit potential fossil-fuel deposits. The campaign group Algarve Surfers and Maritime Activities Association (ASMAA) has been very active in raising public awareness of the issue.
These licenses are in areas that are environmentally sensitive, especially those off-shore and onshore the Algarve. With parts of the Algarve being designated areas of Natura 2000 sites. Also Algarve is economically dependent on fishing, sea salt, agriculture and tourism. All of which would be adversely affected by oil and gas exploitation, even without any accidents occurring. During off-shore exploration, seismic and sonar activity, have an extremely detrimental impact on marine life.
Our oceans are already being badly affected by pollution, global warming, acidification, overfishing and even excess carbon dioxide. Carbon Dioxide intoxication was also covered by Portuguese papers: Peixes podem ficar intoxicados em meados deste século. We are already feeling the affects of climate change, with major changes in our weather. JP Sottile, writing for the Truthout magazine puts the argument against further oil and gas exploitation quite well: Mother Nature’s invisible hand strikes back against the carbon economy?
I would call on the new Portuguese Socialist Government to cancel these oil and gas contracts. And to revitalise the last Socialist Governments investment in renewable energy developments and energy efficiency. The International Energy Agency (IEA) once praised Portugal’s efforts to strengthen its energy policy: Portugal 2009 review. Though I would not agree with all the IEA’s recommendations, especially with regard to privatisation.