“The Northern Sea Route is predicted to have up to 125 days per year suitable for navigation by 2050,” says the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday. The report is not a wild-card scenario; “climate changes are already well underway,” reads the conclusion based on science- and research from around the globe.
Today the Northern Sea Route is open for navigation around 50 days, with an increase the latest four years. While the Russians have sailed interregional voyages from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk towards the north coast of Siberia for decades, transit shipping is relatively new. First ever bulk-vessel to sail the Northern Sea Route in transit was in 2010 with iron-ore from Kirkenes, Norway to China without making a stopover at a Russian port.
The scientists underline that predicted duration of ice-free periods in the Arctic Ocean is generally underestimated.
Shipping from major European ports to Shanghai is some 40 percent shorter via the Northern Sea Route compared with the Suez Canal. Shorter shipping distance cuts emissions, but increases the probability of shipping accidents with severe consequences for the fragile Arctic environment.
The ice-free period for shipping coincides with the breeding season of sea mammals and sea birds. Accidents with oil spill could therefore be disastrous.
Record low sea-ice was seen during summer in both 2007 and 2012.
RAAHE: Development Manager Juha Miikkulainen doesn’t think the current disagreements between EU and Moscow will affect Finland’s plans for Pyhäjoki nuclear power plant where Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom is heavily involved.
Tourists will be replaced by soldiers and scientists on the North Pole this spring. Instead of the traditional Barneo ice camp, Russia is about to establish two bases – one for scientists and one for the military.
The overall goal for Norwegian Arctic Policy is to ensure that the current geopolitical tensions do not spill over and pose a challenge to peace and stability characterizing the region, says Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
How come that the Barents and the Balkan regions have nearly the same average life expectancy, but their GDPs are dramatically different? BarentsObserver compares two border regions trying to find an answer.
Terrorism fears, with police and soldiers likely targets, is the reason for the special decision to allow Finnish Border Guards to be armed when on patrol in the normally relaxed town of Kirkenes in Norway’s northeastern corner.
Eva Biaudet, Finland’s Non Discrimination Ombudsman says to BarentsObserver the rejection of the ratification of ILO Convention No. 169 was a step backwards for the political efforts to strengthen Sami rights.