Search Results for Tag: Norway
Given the increased interest in drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic as the area becomes more accessible in a changing climate, concern is also growing about the dangers an accident could pose to the fragile environment of the “high North”. An editorial in the publication NATURE argues that we need a binding agreement like the Antarctic Treaty to protect the Arctic from pollution.
DateFebruary 7, 2012 | 12:57 pm
Norwegian youth for a wind-win situation
In Trondheim at the weekend, I came across this group of young people from Natur og Ungdom, or “Nature and Youth”, also known as Young Friends of the Earth Norway.
Good to see the young generation taking an interest in our future energy supplies.
DateApril 13, 2011 | 2:09 pm
Arctic race against time
I have had an interesting and informative couple of days here in Trondheim, including a visit to the SINTEF laboratories, opened in 2005 on the water-front in Trondheim, so that they have direct access to sea water for their experiments.
This is the view of the fjord from inside the lab. It was a very wild weather day when we went there yesterday. There is a fine view of the water from the lab, and yesterday was unusually windy, so some of the scientists were even taking photos of the waves crashing over the breakwater – photos through the window, though. It was too stormy to open a window.
It was high tide and the wind was blowing strongly right in to shore. I actually like windy weather and have enjoyed watching waves crash on the shore in a lot of places. Apparently this is rare here, because Trondheim is comparatively sheltered in the fjord.
This is a lab dedicated to finding out all about oil and how it works in the environment. There is an “oil library”, with samples of different oil types from all over the world, so that the scientists can figure out how different types of oil behave in contact with sea water and test methods of dealing with oil spills.
Oil exploration and drilling are a “given” to this organisation. Their business is not to question the wisdom of, for example, moving north, but to find out about possible environmental impacts and develop technology for oil spill response.
This laboratory received a lot of funding from Statoil, so there is a clear interest in making oil exploration possible.
I have learnt a lot about the problems of oil spill response and the different technologies available over the past few days.
(test basin where oil is added to seawater)
There were quite a few experts from the USA at the meeting, the Canadian coastguard was represented, and of course plenty of Norwegian oil experts. People said they’d like to see more Russian involvement next time as they are a key player in the Arctic.
Summing up the presentations and sentiments I experienced here I’d say in spite of the Deep Water Horizon catastrophe a year ago, oil exploration in Arctic regions will still go ahead. There is a strong awareness of the challenges posed and the danger of an oil spill either from oil exploration or increased shipping in remote, icy waters. Oil in ice is a big research topic. Of course the DWH accident has drawn public and political attention to the risks attached especially to deep-sea drilling.
I have the strong sense – and quite a few of the experts I talked to agreed – that this is a race against time. Oil and gas exploration are already moving northwards. “Accidents will happen” is a phrase used by a few speakers. Can the technology to prevent and respond to a spill keep pace? The other fact I saw confirmed was that there is a lack of “baseline data” for Arctic areas, from charting to ecosystems. And climate change is changing the Arctic at a very fast pace, making it more difficult still to predict how increased shipping, oil and gas exploration will affect the environment.
DateApril 9, 2011 | 8:14 am
Seeds in transit: from Australia to Svalbard
Ice blog followers may remember my account of a visit to the Svalbard seed vault, which preserves a wide variety of seeds safe under the permafrost of an Arctic mountain for posterity. The story is also online at DW’s environment website.
The idea is that saving a wide diversity of crop seeds could help humankind survive in the future in spite of any disasters occurring – or, for instance, to help agriculture cope with the challenges of a changing climate.
Well the vault has just celebrated its third birthday with a bumper delivery of seeds from different parts of the world. For the first time ever, seeds have been delivered from Australia, just about as far away as you can get from the Arctic. Australia is one of the areas of the world that are particularly vulerable to climate change. It has had to cope with an increasing number of extreme weather events, droughts and floods. The seeds brought to Svalbard were the furthest travelled of the more than 600,000 samples now stored at the vault.
Most of Australia’s food crops come from outside the country, and so are dependent on global crop diversity.
There’s more information on the website of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. See also “Wild Relatives can save our food supply” on why it’s important to preserve crop seeds for posterity.
DateFebruary 25, 2011 | 2:58 pm
Climate Change: Threat or Opportunity?
The interview I recorded with the Norwegian foreign minister is transcribed on Deutsche Welle’s Environment page. Have a read of his views on whether the opening of the Arctic to commercial exploitation is more of a threat or an opportunity.
DateFebruary 2, 2011 | 2:37 pm