Our thirst for oil is threatening the Arctic habitat, a WWF report says, as the Arctic Council getsset to act
The eight members of the Arctic Council have decided it’s time to put their heads together and come up with a way to deal with oil spills in the region.
Their announcement may have been provoked by the recent report by the World Wildlife Fund which stated that development of new oil-exploration projects in the Arctic region should be suspended until new effective ways to prevent oil spills are found.
First fund set up
The council, consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States, was set up with the aim of protecting the unique nature of the northern polar zone.
Anton Vasilyev, who represents Russia in the Arctic Council, said earlier this week that the first collective fund had been set up to co-finance Arctic projects.
According to Vasilyev, the Arctic Council has launched major projects designed to understand the causes and nature of Arctic changes and sum up the existing working practices in the adaptation of northern regions and the introduction of reasonable ecological standards.
Oil reserves – Arctic’s curse?
The Arctic region, which is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, is estimated to hold 25 per cent of the earth’s known remaining petroleum reserves.
With the area becoming more accessible and oil prices spiking, commercial activity is expected to climb.
However, exploring, drilling, and transport can seriously damage sensitive marine areas and disturb marine species.
The WWF has published a report on Arctic oil spills saying that the only way to avoid destructive oil contamination in the Arctic is to stop the development of new oil sea deposits until scientists invent effective methods to prevent and deal with spills in Arctic conditions.
The report stressed that the duty of the Arctic Council is to ensure a stable future for the Arctic in a long-term perspective.Agencies.
Currently, 22 oil companies hold 246 licenses to explore drilling in Canada’s Beaufort Sea. The leases overlap with 75 per cent of environmentally sensitive areas.
Who is at risk?
Millions of indigenous people who’ve made the region their home
Species like polar bear, arctic fox, and walrus
Enormous freshwater reserves