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Executive Summary for November 4th

We review the latest Arctic news, including Denmark’s new Arctic science strategy and a mysterious noise in Nunavut.

Published on Nov. 4, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Environmentalists Say Shipping Emissions Rules Fall Short

Environmental groups are criticizing the world’s shipping regulator for its “lackluster” plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping fuels.

As the International Maritime Organization, the U.N. agency responsible for the safety and security of global shipping, closed out its meeting in London last Friday, it described the outcome of the talks as “good news,” but others disagreed, reported Climate Central.

Policy advisers and campaigners called the outcome of the meeting “very disappointing,” according to the article, and said the roadmap lacked targets or a meaningful timeline.

Following the meeting, U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon called for “urgent and ambitious action to limit the greenhouse gas emissions from global shipping.”

But countries won’t start talking about greenhouse gas emissions targets or caps until next year and ships won’t record emissions data before 2019, reported Climate Home.

However, the new rules adopted last week would reduce the global limit of sulfur in shipping fuels from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent from 2020 onwards, five years earlier than previously considered, reported the Wall Street Journal. The new rules allow shippers to switch to a low-sulfur fuel, including natural gas, or to retrofit ships with emissions scrubbers.

Denmark Launches New Arctic Science Strategy

A new Arctic strategy released by Denmark on Tuesday aims to position the country as the global leader in Arctic research.

The plan, which includes an executive summary in English, would look to the potential of establishing an international research hub in Greenland to draw international scientists.

But no fresh money has been assigned to the new plan, reports Sermitsiaq, one of Greenland’s national newspapers. The funding might come from existing channels or could be collected from other countries whose scientists are carrying out work in the Arctic.

Another initiative contained within the plan would better prepare Greenlandic students for school in Denmark, through language courses, accommodation and cultural understanding.

Undersea Noise Under Investigation in Nunavut

The Canadian armed forces has dispatched a patrol aircraft to the Fury and Hecla Strait northwest of Igloolik, Nunavut, after hunters from the community reported hearing a pinging or beeping sound from the sea floor.

Hunters have been concerned that the noise, reported as a ping, beep or hum, might be driving animals away from the region, reported the National Post.

The area contains a polynya, an area of open water, used by hunters in the summer and winter, reported CBC. Bowhead whales, bearded seals and ringed seals all use the passage.

According to a National Defence spokesperson, the crew searched the area for 1.5 hours, but did not detect any acoustic peculiarities, the Guardian reported. But they did spot two pods of whales and some walruses.

Submarines have not been ruled out, but are not considered to be the likely cause, according to the CBC report.

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