Protecting the Arctic
The Committee was today chaired by Martin Caton MP and the purpose of the inquiry was to examine ways in which the region will be increasingly exploited as climate change reduces the ice coverage – for oil and natural resources extraction, for new shipping routes and new fishing ground and how this could have an impact on wildlife and the environment.
Sweden currently has the chairmanship of the Arctic Council and in my opening statement I stressed that opportunities in the Arctic must be seized, but the significant challenges in the region must also be met with determination.
The Arctic warms twice as fast as the global average. The receding ice cap – which researchers of the Arctic Council say will not exist in 30 – 40 years – is a stark reminder of the dramatic effects of climate change. At the same time the receding ice cap combined with scientific and technological progress opens opportunities previously blocked.
The MPs had many different questions on everything from the UK role in the Arctic to the effects of oil and gas exploration. I had the opportunity to commend the world class research that Britain conducts in the Arctic region.