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The Arctic: An Energy and Climate Paradox

Arctic(27.08.2011) In a study commissioned for the ONS Summit in Stavanger today, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) and DNV look at risks and responsible management of Arctic resource development.

The ONS Summit is a new feature to the biennial ONS Conference, inviting government ministers from energy nations and top executives from the major petroleum companies to discuss energy-related geopolitical issues.

Leiv LundeFNI Director Leiv Lunde is a co-author of the study, and will today, together with DNV's CEO Henrik Madsen, introduce it for discussion by the around 100 invited participants at the Summit, including Norwegian and Swedish foreign ministers Jonas Gahr Støre and Carl Bildt, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven, energy company CEOs including Ryan Lance (ConocoPhillips), Peter Voser (Shell) and Helge Lund (Statoil) as well as energy ministers from the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Ghana, Cyprus, the Faroe Islands, Myanmar and Tanzania.

- Interest in the Arctic is growing rapidly, but there is no race over resources, Leiv Lunde says.

- The Arctic is more characterized by cooperation than by conflict. It is in the interest of all major stakeholders that the rules of the game are followed, meaning adherence to the Law of the Sea and cooperation through international bodies such as the Arctic Council.

- Some areas of the Arctic are still disputed, but the prospects for solution without conflict are good. The bulk of Arctic resources are clearly and unambiguously under national jurisdictions of the Arctic five: Russia, Norway, USA, Canada and Denmark/Greenland, Lunde says.

ONSThe FNI-DNV study finds that the greatest challenge to the development of energy resources in the more demanding regions of the Arctic is the risk of accidents, loss of life and potentially uncontrollable oil spills, especially in ice-covered areas. The management of these challenges requires more knowledge, better technology and a good and close cooperation between authorities, companies and research.

- The Arctic represents an energy and climate paradox, Lunde thinks.

- The effects of climate change are dramatic in the Arctic and are showing the world the importance of getting global warming under control. At the same time it is climate change that, by virtue of melting sea ice, opens up the Arctic for further petroleum exploration, he thinks.

- The climate change problem requires global solutions, emissions in the Arctic are not, in themselves, a major problem as they are relatively small. The black carbon phenomenon is, however, a specific regional problem, where Arctic emissions have Arctic consequences, but even this is not a major climate change driver on a global scale, Lunde ends.

Further information:

   Download the report
   Executive summary
   More about FNI research on Polar and Russian politics
   FNI Contact persons: Director Leiv Lunde and Deputy Director Arild Moe
 The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental, energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science, economics, and international law.

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