Okay, now I’m discouraged. If there was one place on the planet I thought drilling for oil would not happen, I would have pegged Iceland as the place. This is a country that powers itself on renewable geothermal and hydroelectric power. This is a country that, before all others, set a goal of running all its cars and boats on hydrogen and fuel cells. It’s also a country that, historically, has proudly touted its renewable leadership. Just yesterday the tiny island country signed a pack with the United States and Australia to promote geothermal technologies, specifically enhanced or “engineered” geothermal systems. “This international collaborative will bind the U.S., Australia and Iceland to work together to accelerate the development of geothermal energy, bringing this clean, domestic and natural energy to the market in the near-term to confront the serious challenges of climate change and energy security,” said Katharine Fredriksen, acting assistant secretary for policy and international affairs in Iceland’s energy department.
Then I get this notice in my inbox, with the headline: “Potential oil fields being opened for exploratory drilling in the Atlantic Northeast of Iceland.” Wah? Apparently the Icelandic government made a decision in January to open up drilling and is holding a conference next week to talk about the opportunity. “We have high expectations of finding oil in the Dreki area since scientific research has indicated that valuable oil resources may be found there,” said Iceland’s Minister of Industry Össur Skarphédinsson. “We therefore urge all parties interested in new oil fields in northern areas to attend the conference in Reykjavik.”
Is this depressing or what? If there was one country I figured could stick to its guns, I would have said Iceland. Now, it risks being a hypocrite where it was once a leader.