A PARADISE UNDER THREAT
A paradise of majestic marine life, iconic habitats and top touristic destinations of unique natural beauty, such as Crete, Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Corfu is in danger. A 60.000 square kilometers marine area, equal to twice the size of Belgium, has been conceded to multinational oil companies for oil and gas exploration and drilling threatening our paradise.
WWF has launched an international campaign to tackle this unprecedented environmental threat that can have severe and potentially irreversible impacts to the Greek iconic marine ecosystem, economy and local communities.
Oil spills would have catastrophic impacts on the Mediterranean
Oil exploration and drilling poses an unprecedented environmental threat with severe and irreversible impacts on:
Hydrocarbon exploration and drilling is a heavy industrial activity, incompatible with the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
The area conceded for oil exploration and drilling is home to rare and threatened species such as sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, monk seals, loggerhead sea turtles and deep sea corals.
Limiting temperature increase to 1,5oC, as the Paris Agreement requires, is incompatible with new hydrocarbons projects.
Tourism and fisheries provide an income for hundreds of thousands of people in coastal communities. Their livelihoods depend on a thriving ecosystem.
The risk of oil spills
Exploration areas largely overlap with the Hellenic Trench, a marine area characterized by great depths reaching up to 5000 meters. Ultra-deep sea drilling in this area is an extremely dangerous activity, increasing the risk of an oil spill. Responding to oil spills in the open seas of the Ionian would be an extremely challenging task. A major oil spill would have catastrophic impacts on iconic habitats, cripple the Greek tourism and fishing industries for decades, and destroy coastal communities in top destinations such as Crete, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Corfu and Epirus.
In 2017, this region attracted more than 8.5 million tourists, who contributed approximately 5 billion euros. Around 14% of the local population (73.800) is employed in tourism related activities. A new study, commissioned by WWF and conducted by eftec, shows tourism is the sector most heavily impacted in the event of an oil spill. In the unfortunate, yet plausible, scenario of a single major oil spill occurring near Crete, the cost could reach 2.2 billion euros, while up to 45,000 jobs would be lost overnight. A similar event in the Ionian Islands would cost up to 1.78 billion euros and wipe out up to 25.000 jobs.
Not in our worst nightmares would we ever imagine oil and gas rigs just miles off the shores of Crete and the Ionian islands, next to loggerhead nesting beaches in the bay of Lagana, Zakynthos. Drilling in these very deep waters poses a lethal threat to this natural paradise and makes no climate or financial sense.
The end of the oil age
The latest scientific findings and radical technological breakthroughs bring humankind closer to an oil-free future. Granting of new oil concessions does not align with the fast and deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions necessary to meet the climate targets of the Paris Agreement and secure a climate safe future. We call on the Greek Government to immediately ban new hydrocarbon exploration and drilling, following the recent examples of Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and New Zealand. It is in Greece's interest to fight for a resilient climate, thriving seas and a clean energy system.
Save your paradise
We are calling upon Greece’s friends from around the world to show their solidarity and sign WWF’s online petition that aims to halt new oil drilling in Greece. By signing the petition you will help us protect their own paradise, since Greek islands are between the most preferred touristic destinations in the world.