The Colombian government announced on Thursday that the country will not approve any more new deals for oil exploration in the future as it plans to pivot towards more renewable sources of energy in the country.

The Minister of Energy Irene Vélez said during the World Economic Forum in Davos that the country is planning on moving away from oil and other fossil fuels and instead will be exploring more renewable sources of energy to help in “the fight against climate change,” according to The Guardian.

The new policy will reportedly include no “new oil and gas exploration contracts” for the country, though Vélez clarified that this does not include the existing contracts that they may have with other companies in the country, saying that the government “[has] not talked about ending contracts” for the moment, Argus Media reported.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has largely backed this announcement and promised that the loss from oil investments, which currently amounts to half the country’s export revenue, will be made back in “alternative economies,” which reportedly include tourism.

“We are convinced that strong investment in tourism, given the beauty of the country, and the capacity and potential that the country has to generate clean energy, could, in the short term, perfectly fill the void left by fossil fuels,” he said.

Despite this announcement, Finance Minister José Ocampo has contradicted this statement on several occasions, saying that the country is only considering the policy at the moment and will not be closing the opportunities for these new contracts in the near future. Public credit director Jose Roberto Acosta also said that the country will not stop creating new oil exploration contracts.

Many in the country from both sides of the aisle have been critical of the new policy, with some saying that it would be akin to “killing its golden-egg-laying goose” while others pointing out that it does little in resolving the key environmental issues that plague the country.

Colombia Oil Exploration Announcement Rep. Pic
The Colombian government made an announcement on Thursday that the country will not be giving new oil exploration contracts to companies in an effort to invest in "greener energy." This is a representational image. Zbynek Burival/Unsplash.

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