NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Oil drilling is “absolutely against” this nation’s best interest as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to a local climate change expert and researcher.
Dr Adelle Thomas, director of the Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Research Centre at the University of The Bahamas (UB) and a senior researcher at Climate Analytics, a climate science and policy institute, yesterday described climate change as a “national emergency”.
“Some of the actions being taken now, such as moving forward with oil drilling and failing to include climate change as a key component of our COVID-19 recovery plans, are actually increasing our vulnerability to climate change,” she said.
Thomas, who will address the Bahamas Business Outlook next week, said during a press conference to promote the outlook yesterday that her presentation will look at measures needed to mitigate the impact of climate change.
“We urgently need a national adaptation strategy. We need to mainstream climate change into all development decisions across all sectors and we need to strengthen public-private partnerships to address climate change,” she said.
With regards to oil drilling, Thomas said: “I think I think it’s absolutely against our best interest as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change to pursue oil drilling.
“It is the equivalent of us being in a sinking ship and asking the international community for help yet at the same time drilling holes in the hull and throwing out our lifeboats.”
Earlier this week, a Supreme Court judge granted opponents of Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) exploratory oil drilling campaign leave to seek judicial review of the government’s approvals for BPC to drill an exploratory well in Bahamian waters, ruling that Save The Bays and Waterkeeper Bahamas Limited have “an arguable case”.
The judge, however, denied the applicants’ application for a stay of the ongoing drilling exercise — a process that began on December 20.
BPC said in a statement following that decision that Bahamians will likely learn within four to six weeks whether The Bahamas is an oil-rich nation.