Arcticportal News
Mammal invasion in Russia?
Climate Change News
Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:17

Climate change will lead to a mammal invasion in Russia (Photo: GettyImages) Climate change will lead to a mammal invasion in Russia (Photo: GettyImages)By 2080, Russia might witness a vast mammalian invasion, as sub-arctic European animals flee global warming and adapt to a thawing tundra. This is the result of a newly published study in the journal PloS One.
 

"North Western Russia will be some kind of hotspot of species richness," said Christer Nilsson, an ecology professor, via Skype from Umeå University in Sweden to the website Mother Jones. "Species will be on the move and there will be new combinations of species."


Red and fallow deer, wild boar, the Eurasian badger, rabbits, mice and beaver will all be on the move as new tracts of habitable land open up.


In a surprising twist, Professor Nilsson and his team found that most species in the Barents Region, which includes the northern half of Norway, Sweden, Finland and a big chunk of North Western Russian, will actually be favored by climate change.


Forty-three out of the 61 animals studied will expand and shift their "ranges"—or habitats—mostly in a north-easterly direction, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles.


But no one can predict how all the animals will interact in their new, climate-changed world, and far from helping animals, climate change might force new, and deadly, interactions: "Predators might be in contact with new prey," Nilsson said.


The report found something encouraging: No extinctions predicted in the area surveyed. "We couldn't find any evidence that any species will disappear, given the climate change predictions we've used," Nilsson said. Nevertheless, vulnerability of those already threatened may increase due to the introduction of new competing or predatory species.

  

 
Greenland will not favor EU over China
Energy News
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 09:11

Greenland is rich in minerals (Photo: GettyImages) Greenland is rich in minerals (Photo: GettyImages)The prime minister of Greenland says he will not favour the EU over China or other investors when granting access to highly prized rare earth minerals. Kuupik Kleist said it would not be fair "to protect others' interests more than protecting, for instance, China's".


The BBC reports and points out that Greenland is not in the EU, even though Denmark is.


The EU, US and Japan are in dispute with China over its restrictions on exports of rare earths.


China currently produces 97% of the world's rare earths, vital in the manufacture of mobile phones and other high-tech products.


The dispute has gone to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Last year China argued that its export restrictions were needed to protect the environment, conserve supplies and meet domestic demand.


Currently Greenland's rare earth resources are being intensively investigated. The European Commission estimates that those resources could total 9.16% of the global rare earth deposits.


"All are welcome if they meet our conditions and our requirements to operate in Greenland," Mr Kleist said.


The EU sees "especially strong potential" in Greenland's deposits of niobium, platinum, rare earths and tantalum, among the elements on an EU "critical raw materials" list.


The share of European exploration companies operating in Greenland is only 15%. More than 50% are from Canada and Australia.


Mr Kleist, speaking in the Danish capital Copenhagen, said Greenland needed to develop its resources, as it was too reliant on fishing and subsidies from Denmark.


"I do not see thousands of Chinese workers in the country as a threat," he said, quoted by Denmark's Ritzau news agency. He vowed to resist EU pressure concerning Greenland's policy on rare earths. 

  

LOCATION

{mosmap address='Nuuk, Greenland'|zoom='3'|}

 
New Arctic Council minister visits Iceland
Other News
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 08:12

Leona Aglukkaq and Össur at the meeting (Picture: Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Leona Aglukkaq and Össur at the meeting (Picture: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)The Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Össur Skarphéðinsson met with Ms. Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's health minister and newly appointed Minister of Arctic Affairs in Iceland yesterday.

Following her visit to Reykjavík, Aglukkaq will travel to the other Nordic states to introduce Canada's Chairmanship Programme for the Arctic Council.
 

At their meeting the ministers discussed cooperation between the countries and the their policies within the Arctic Council as Canada will take on the chairmanship of the Arctic Council at the council's ministerial meeting in Kiruna May 15.

Leona Aglukkaq who will lead the chairmanship, said Canada's overarching theme would be promoting projects that have practical implications for the inhabitants of the region, including economic growth and the development of natural resources in a sustainable manner, safer Arctic shipping, engagement with industry and the business community and cultural cooperation within the Circumpolar region.

 

"Our main agenda is development of the people in the Arctic, sustainable and safe exploitation of resources and safe shipping in the Arctic," she told Morgunblaðið.


The Foreign Minister expressed his view that strong regional and political cooperation within the Arctic Council, aimed at constructive projects and agreements is one of the pillars of Iceland's Arctic policy. The Minsters agreed on the importance of strengthening practical cooperation of the Arctic States on responses to environmental disasters, e.g. by supporting prevention and responses to shipping accidents and oil spill in the Arctic.
 

The Foreign Minister also emphasized the importance of developing further ideas on economic cooperation with the possible establishment of Circumpolar Chamber of Commerce. The issue of permanent observers was discussed and the future development of the Arctic Council and its role in the global context.


After her meeting with the Foreign Minister, Ms. Aglukkaq met Ms. Svandísi Svavarsdóttir, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources and experts from institutes working with Arctic affairs in Iceland.

 

 
Joint Arctic defense strategy?
Other News
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 09:06

Sweden and Finland are looking for military cooperation, picture not related. (Photo: GettyImages) Sweden and Finland are looking for military cooperation, picture not related. (Photo: GettyImages)Two Arctic states might join military forces in the Arctic. Sweden and Finland have held talks about a joint weaponary and it is a central part of Sweden’s vision for Nordic Defence cooperation. Sweden is looking for a joint Nordic policy in foreign affairs, secutiry and defense strategy.
 

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Defense Minister Karin Enstrom have written the proposal.


“We want to create a more efficient use of resources, higher quality, better effects and an expanded variety of defence capabilities through cooperation”, the two ministers write, according to the BarentsObserver.


“Joint ownership and use of military capacities and resources, so-called pooling and sharing, is a central part of the Swedish vision for Nordic defence cooperation”, they underline.


The Finnish side positively responds to the Swedish proposal. Defence Minister Carl Haglund says to Yle that the possible conclusion of a treaty with Sweden is worth thorough examination, but believes that such an agreement can come only after “several years”.


“Indeed, in practice this would mean that we should have some kind of defense agreement with Sweden, because we would be talking about crucial capabilities, for example in the navy or the air force," Haglund says.


At the same time, the Finns are reluctant to get Norway on board. Haglund underlines that “in any case, Nordic NATO member countries should not be included in this cooperation”.

 

LOCATION

{mosmap address='Stockholm, Sweden'|zoom='3'|}

 
Trapped whales now free
Climate Change News
Thursday, 10 January 2013 09:12

The whales need assistance as the gap they breathe through is shrinking (Photo: CBC) The whales need assistance as the gap they breathe through is shrinking (Photo: CBC)

The whales who were trapped in sea ice in Hudson Bay, Canada, are now free. The ice shifted away and the whales are free and safe after being trapped for two days.

In our original story yesterday we reported that the town asked for an icebreaker to assist the whales. There was only a small patch of open water for the whales to breathe, and the gap was shrinking.


Video of the whales can be seen here. 


A hunter spotted the whales and now the government is looking at its options. Peter Inukpuk, mayor of the small Inuit village, called on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to send out an icebreaker to help the whales.

 

LOCATION

{mosmap address='Hudson Bay, Quebec'|zoom='3'|}

 
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