(Radio Sweden, 22 November 2011) -- Sweden has only had the chairmanship for the Arctic Council for six months. But the center-right coalition government's strategy for the next two years has already been criticized by Greenpeace and the opposition parties. The arctic areas are heavily affected by global warming. Glaciers and sea ice are melting more extensively than ever before. As the ice withdraws it opens up for new transport routes and many companies, such as oil and fish industries, see the opportunity to exploit new natural resources. Greenpeace and the other opposition parties in the parliament want the government to take a stricter stand towards future oil exploitation in the region. "They aim too low", says Therese Jacobson from Greenpeace. "If we globally want to reach the goals we have set for the climate politics, which the Swedish government says it is protecting, we can not open for new exploitation of oil fields in the arctic areas", says Gustaf Fridolin, one of the Green Party's two spokepersons. On the contrary, the minister of environment, Lena Ek, says there are no international legal regulations that make it possible for one state to stop oil activity by another state."We are trying to enforce or develop new regulations on environmental impact assessments. That is, as far as we see it, the only legal improvements we can develop within reasonably short notice. Politically, you can always speak about what to do or not and we have very strong views about the strategy for the arctic areas. But we have to do this together with two super powers, USA and Russia, so it's not as easy as wishful thinking", says Lena Ek.
Posted 23 November 2011; 12:08:19 AM. Permalink