Gasoline prices have triggered the budget of the French oceanographic fleet, which now falls short by 9 million euros. Researchers may have to cancel their maritime expeditions.
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No gas, no shipping. C’est une conséquence inattendue de la hausse du prix des carburants: la flotte oceanographique française, c’est-à-dire les bateaux et les submersibles que servent pour les chercheurs, n’a pas assez d’argent pour garantir les missions de Next year.
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This situation provokes the anger of the director of the prestigious climate and environmental sciences laboratory, Philippe Bousquet: “On the one hand, we have a boast from the State that says that the ocean is fundamental, etc., and today, out of a budget of 70 million euros, we are missing 10% of the budget for the whole of next year to carry out oceanographic missions, the monitoring of the ocean that we do every year, and the exceptional missions that have finally been expected for four years because there was also the Covid that blocked everything.“
He himself had scheduled a major mission off Brazil to improve climate models. The future of the expedition is uncertain: the price of diesel has inflated the budget of all the research ships and there is now a deficit of 9 million euros. “We are still facing a fuel increase that is more than double what we could afford beforeacknowledges Olivier Lefort, the director of the French oceanographic fleet at Ifremer, the Institute of the sea. We have quantified that the financial impact represents a little less than 10% of our expenses.“
The Ministry of Higher Education was alerted last spring. If there is no financial extension, the researchers will soon have to suspend certain missions.