Protecting high north ecosystems the energy and climate dimension


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Protecting high north ecosystems the energy and climate dimension

  1. 1. Protecting high north ecosystems: the energy and climate dimension OLF Energy Dialogue, Brussels, 14 April 2010 Jason Anderson Head of European Climate Change and Energy Policy WWF European Policy Office
  2. 2. The Arctic is warming... Air temperatures rising Sea ice melting Ocean surface warming Snow cover declining Permafrost warming Glacier retreat accelerating Greenland Ice Sheet melting
  3. 3. Arctic Climate Feedbacks •  Amplification of global warming in the Arctic will have fundamental impacts on Northern Hemisphere weather. •  The global ocean circulation system will change under the strong influence of arctic warming. •  The loss of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet has increased and will contribute substantially to sea level rise. •  Arctic marine systems currently provide a substantial carbon sink but the continuation of this service depends critically on arctic climate change impacts. •  Arctic terrestrial ecosystems will continue to take up carbon, but warming and changes in surface hydrology will cause a far greater release of carbon. Download the report and accompanying material from
  4. 4. Oil exploration here?
  5. 5. Globally significant wildlife in the Norwegian Sea •  The world’s last large cod stock (Barents sea, spawns in Lofoten) •  Capelin and herring – two of the world’s largest fish stocks •  150 other fish species •  Several hundred coldwater coral reefs, including the world’s largest outside Rost •  Several thousand kilometers of kelp forest and large sponge communities •  Enormous seabirds colonies, with more than 40 different species and 20 milllion birds
  6. 6. Nature is more vulnerable in the north Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (2009): •  Nature in Lofoten-Barentshavet is more exposed •  Ecosystems – fewer species than in the south, less resilience to change and impact •  Clean-up operations after spills extremely challenging – strong winds, bad weather, large waves, partial ice cover, darkness, and limited infrastructure •  Slower break-down of oil (climate, lack of daylight and ice cover)
  7. 7. Lofoten and Vesteraalen •  Nature values of global and ”eternal” importance: •  World’s largest cod stock •  World’s largest herring stock •  Large coral reefs and important seabird colonies •  UNESCO world heritage (under consideration) – international responsibility to protect •  ALL environmental advisory bodies are advising against oil activity (HI, Klif, NPI, NINA, DN)
  8. 8. How do you make oil spill preparedness work here?
  9. 9. Oil spill preparedness in the north •  Oil spill preparedness still too poor/insufficient to handle increased activity in Arctic waters •  No real technical development for 40 yrs regarding methods and materials •  Lack of daylight/visibility during winter •  Temperature •  Ice conditions and icing •  Wave heights/conditions, rough seas •  Limited infrastructure •  Lack of available personel resources with appropriate competence and endurance
  10. 10. Zero discharge is impossible! •  Accidents can happen from platforms, underwater/seabed installations, pipelines, from land or from tankers •  More than 2,500 accidental spills from platforms on Norwegian continental shelf •  The second biggest spill in Norwegian history (4,000 tons of crude oil) from Statfjord A in December 2007 – during a routine operation on a well-established, well-managed oil field •  Accidents happen, and will happen again
  11. 11. Oil vs Nature •  The ocean outside Nordland county is worth at least 3 200 billion kroner (Fiskerihøgskolen, 2008) •  The oil outside Lofoten and Vesteraalen has an estimated value of 1 200 billion kroner (OLF, 2009) •  Nature is worth 3X as much as the oil!
  12. 12. Protect Norway’s most important areas WWF’s proposal: protect the most important nature values, plus a buffer zone of 2 days oil drift
  13. 13. Emissions reduction effort under a budget Carbon Budget: cumulative emissions 1990-2100: 1830 GT CO2 eq. (excl. LULUCF) ~95% cuts, part of 80% globally European Council (Oct.2010): 80-95% cuts by 2050 WWF/ Ecofys carbon budgets report, 2009
  14. 14. McKinsey: oil is on its way out BEVs under 95% Source: McKinsey 2010: ‘Roadmap 2050’
  15. 15. -95% in Europe, -80% globally Source: McKinsey 2010: ‘Roadmap 2050’
  16. 16. Source: McKinsey 2010: ‘Roadmap 2050’
  17. 17. Petroleum from the high north… • Puts globally significant ecosystems at risk • Puts natural resources of higher value at risk • Perpetuates a dependency that we know needs to be broken, and which will be cheaper if we break.
  18. 18. Open invitation WWF invites OLF, Statoil and the oil industry generally to engage in the discussion; “How do we plan the inevitable transformation from an oil based energy platform and economy into a sustainable renewable one?” 1.  How much of the remaining oil should be used vs. left? 2.  Where should the remaining activity take place and where not? 3.  The long term investment strategies of oil companies (particularly Statoil which is >60% owned by the Norwegian people).  WWF has good cooperation with most industries, but to date OLF has not been open to a real discussion
  19. 19. A transition won’t be easy. It will involve hard choices. But if not Norway, who?
  20. 20.