Erlend Tellnes and Ina Bjørnrå from Greenpeace at Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø. Photo: Morten Brugård
Ina Bjørnrå from Greenpeace stresses the fact that a melting Arctic is alarming. The recent focus on the Arctic revolves around the opportunities arising as polar ice retracts, rather than the challenges climate changes are causing.
“The fast paced changes in the Arctic must not be seen as an open invitation to increased profits for the oil and gas industry. It’s an alarm that urges us to strain even harder to counteract the current climate changes, and protect animals and environments that are threaten by these changes”, Bjørnrå says.
Norway and the Arctic Council recently signed a Host Country Agreement which places a permanent Secretariat in Tromsø. Erlend Tellnes hopes that this will mark the beginning of an era where the Arctic Council focuses on pressing environmental matters.
“The climate changes more rapidly in the Arctic than anywhere else. The Arctic Council has had a temporary secretariat for six years without being able to focus on the environmental threats in the region. We congratulate them on a new, permanent secretariat and hope that this contributes new efforts on the subject”, Bjørnrå states.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.