Search Results for Tag: Greenland
What about a non-national ecosystem-based governance system for the Arctic?
This is the 3rd of these Arctic Frontiers conferences, and there is a very impressive collection of people attending from all the sectors involved with the Arctic. Politicians, indigenous representatives, scientists, students (the conference venue is after all the world’s northernmost university), business and industry, ngos and research organisations, and even the military. It’s a great opportunity to catch up on the latest issues, research results and policies, projects and make contacts.
Tromso has traditionally been a “gate to the Arctic“ for explorers. Today, it is still one of the most important departure points – and centres of knowledge and expertise on Arctic issues.
At one point I was sitting next to a senior manager from a major technology company, discussing climate change with an activist from an ngo. He said this is an ideal forum for him to make contacts – and to talk to stakeholders in the region and find out about their concerns and requirements. It’s fair to say all points of views are represented.
One of the major themes in today’s presentations and discussions has been the decision-making or governance issue with regard to the Arctic, against the background of climate change – which is no longer being questioned by any sceptics here. The Norwegian Secretary of State from the Foreign Ministry Elisabeth Waalers, who stood in for her Minister who’s gone down with ‘flu, is convinced existing bodies, such as the Arctic Council, are sufficient to govern and regulate the use of natural resources, she says we just have to implement existing regulations better. The EU is taking a strong new interest in the Arctic, and Joe Borg, the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, put the case for greater involvement and a coordinating role. One argument is the importance of climate change and the Arctic for the planet as a whole.
I had an interesting talk with Per Berthelsen, the Minister for Finance and Foreign Affairs of Greenland Home Rule. He has no objections to the EU having observer status on the Arctic Council, but stresses they and other “outsiders” should listen to the views and concern of the indigenous peoples who are at home in the Arctic.
The USA, as mentioned in a recent entry, came out with a new strategy in the last week of the Bush administration. The US speaker here, Jim Slutz, was in a strange position, speaking on these issues on his last day in office. Russia will probably publish a strategy soon, but the deputy minister of Natural Resources and Ecology here made no secret of his country’s interest in getting at new oil resources.
Of course WWF and Greenpeace are here to remind us all that climate change is more than just a new opportunity to exploit natural resources. They are sceptical about existing mechanisms being enough. Lindsay Keenan from Greenpeace Sweden told me he sometimes had the feeling people haven’t learnt anything from the mistakes of the past, as there is too much talk of further exploitation of positive effects of climate change rather than proposals for action to tackle it. . Greenpeace has floated the idea of a 50-year moratorium on further exploration in the Arctic, given the background of climate change – i.e. the opposite of what industry and other players are planning. Sounds like a great idea to me – but I can’t say I’m optimistic about its chances of being implemented. But as Prof. Oran Young from the Bren School of Environmental Management, Uni of California, reminded us, we all have to do our bit to stop the Arctic discussion sliding into a “big game” for “big politics” and argue for a non-national, eco-system based approach to governance.
I could write a lot more but will leave you with this summary for the moment and open my ears to some more information, while I have the chance.
DateJanuary 19, 2009 | 2:54 pm
Found any rubber ducks recently?
If you happen to be fishing or hunting in the Baffin Bay area (relatively unlikely in itself) and you come across a rubber duck (!) – don’t just mutter to yourself about pollution reaching remote areas. You could help some of the world’s leading scientists find out more about melting glaciers and climate change.
Rubber ducks aren’t something you’d usually associate with NASA, but then again, you always have to expect the unexpected here.
The grand total of 90 ducks were put into the ice of a Greenland glacier in August by a NASA scientist Alberto Behar, to help find out why glaciers head towards the sea faster in summer. He also used a sophisticated probe,with measuring equipment and a gps transmitter. But it’s hardly surprising that it’s the ducks that make the headlines.
Unfortunately, none of them have been reported so far.
You can read the whole story from Reuters here
Scientists know quite a lot about this particular glacier, the Jakobshavn glacier, because it accounts for a fair percentage of the ice that comes off Greenland. But even the experts don’t know everything, for instance how exactly the water flows off and how this influences the movement of the glaciers and their speed.
I’m using the theme of “the lengths scientists have to go…” as an excuse to put up this picture from Svalbard.
It shows Bob and Sebastian – two scientists I interviewed there – rushing to salvage “the drone” – a camera + gps on a mini hang-glider, being used to photograph snow melt and water flow.
We’ve been hearing a lot about the Arctic sea ice melting recently, but of course the thing about Greenland is that it has so much land-based ice. So when it melts – unlike the sea ice – it increases the sea level.
Scientists from the eastern German Technical University of Dresden have just published a study confirming that the Baltic Sea leavel is rising faster than expected on account of global warming. It seems it has risen 15 cm in the last hundred years. A more worrying result is that over the past 20 years, the annual level rise has doubled, to 3 mm every 12 months – in accordance with the global trend. The scientists attribute this to melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the water.
Article on Dresden Uni webpage (German only, as far as I can see)
Readers might also be interested in the RealClimate blog, which is written by climate scientists. There is currently a debate going on there about sea level rise.
Real Climate Science Blog
DateSeptember 22, 2008 | 9:43 am
Arctic melting ever faster and nothing in todays papers?
A new study says climate change is having a far greater impact on the Arctic and much faster than previously thought. Like the other journalists and media organisations on the distribution list,this information reached me yesterday from WWF, for publication as of midnight last night.The results of the “Arctic Climate Science Update” are dramatic.
Read the report for yourself via WWF Arctic Programme
But there was no mention of all this on the radio news or in the papers I read this morning. Could it be that melting sea ice, even the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the wide-ranging impacts no longer make the headlines? Are people getting bored with reading about it and starting to take it for granted? Let’s see if it makes the news in the course of today or tomorrow.
I also got these photos from Narsaq in Southern Greenland. The girls are launching a “Messenger Kayak” from an ice floe in the bay. Against the background of a conference on climate change and sustainable development being held in their town, they want to make the voices of young Greenlanders heard, taking on responsibility for the future and asking their leaders to take action on climate change and pollution. Good on you girls.
The picture was taken by Anders Rosenberg, Indra Film.
More info on the Greenland youth initiative
At least I’ve heard quite a few of my neighbours and friends talking about a 2-part film documentary which was shown on German tv last week and this week, which included dramatisations of what climate change is likely to mean for countries like Bangladesh – far away but clearly drastic impact – and places like Cologne in Germany, with huge chemical plants right next to the river Rhine – definitely too close for comfort. I found the film a bit too sensational in style, but I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that we need this sort of tv coverage (evening prime time viewing slot) to get the message across.
What did make the news this morning – John McCain is proposing dropping fuel taxes during the summer holidays. Clearly a very popular proposal. Shame about the climate.
Here are some more pictures from Justin Anderson. They were taken in Denali National Park in January. “Mt. McKinley sunsets”. Emily Schwing adds “it was actually perpetual sunset all day long”. This is Alaska as we’d like to keep it:
DateApril 24, 2008 | 9:01 am
TagsAlaska, Arctic, Barrow, Climate, Climate Change College, Greenland, Inupiat, Living Planet, Media, science, USA, WWF, Youth