Bishops call for North Sea moratorium

 A group of Norwegian church leaders has called for a five year moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the North Sea to allow the country time to address climate control.

The call for exploration to cease on Norway's continental shelf in the North Sea and in particular off the Lofoten archipelago in the Arctic Circle, was lead by Lutheran Bishop Tor B Joergensen of Soer-Haalogaland.

"We need time to reflect," he told journalists after leading a procession from the city's Trinity Church to the Storting (Parliament), where he handed alarm clocks out to parliamentarians suggesting that they "wake up and seriously face the challenges ahead."

"If Norway is to work for a more just global climate agreement, we cannot increase emissions from our petroleum industry. An expansion of the exploration area will be irresponsible towards the world's poor," he added.

Whilst some parliamentarians supported the idea of the moratorium, others rejected the proposal out of hand and the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions thought it ridiculous. Oeyvind Silaamo, a country secretary for the Federation reminded the Bishop that "150,000 of our members directory or indirectly have their jobs in the oil and gas sector. Norway needs jobs, that should be understood also by the church."

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