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Executive Summary for October 14th

We review the latest Arctic news, including a tourism deal between Iceland and Scotland and environmental NGOs pressing Norway to stop Arctic oil drilling.

Published on Oct. 14, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

NGOs Urge Norway to Cancel Offshore Arctic Oil Licenses

Environmental NGOs have asked Norway’s oil minister, Tord Lien, to default on the offshore Arctic drilling licenses the country awarded last month, reported Climate Home.

In a letter delivered on Monday, the groups, which include Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defence Council, said: “The vast majority of proven fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned if we wish to limit global warming to the goals agreed to in Paris.”

“Now is the moment for Norway to walk the talk of the Paris climate agreement,” they write.

Costly projects, such as those in the Arctic, are more risky as tougher emissions curbs kick in, according the report. But Statoil has said that it will be able to extract the oil at a competitive cost.

Scotland Strengthens Arctic Links

Scotland is forging new partnerships on tourism, business and climate change with Arctic nations, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said during an address delivered at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, last weekend.

A tourism agreement signed between Scotland and Iceland will allow the two countries to collaborate on sustainable development in the tourism sector and boost film tourism, the National reported. Direct air flights between the two countries debuted earlier in the year.

Tourism in Iceland has experienced enormous growth. The country hopes to learn from Scotland how it can address some of the challenges that have come with the increasing number of tourists who visit Iceland each year, reported the BBC.

Russia’s Growing Rift with the West Will Not Stop Arctic Work

As relations – and bilateral cooperation – between the U.S. and Russia founder over the latter’s ongoing airstrikes in Aleppo, the two countries continue to work together on Arctic issues, the Portland Press Herald reported.

At the Arctic Council meeting of Senior Arctic Officials in Portland, Maine, last week, David Balton, the U.S. ambassador to the council, stressed that the agreement on scientific cooperation showed the ongoing desire for the eight Arctic nations to work together.

The agreement, expected to be signed by the Arctic ministers in Alaska in the spring, will ease restrictions for the entry and exit of scientists, their material and data when working in countries such as Russia.

Cooperation in the Arctic between the U.S. and Russia must be depoliticized, Pavel Gudez, a senior research fellow at the Primakov Institute of the World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Russia Direct.

At a meeting in Moscow on international cooperation in the Arctic, climate experts and politicians applauded the international conservation efforts already, YLE reported.

Even so, the economic sanctions imposed by each of the Arctic Council members have hampered Russia’s ability to act on environmental protection, according to YLE.

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