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Foto: Arne Nævra

Foto: Arne Nævra.

Norway allows oil drilling in the Arctic marginal ice zone: “The government are puppets for the Norwegian oil lobby!”

In stark contrast to all scientific advice, the Norwegian government announced today that they will allow oil drilling in the Arctic within the marginal ice zone. Friends of the Earth Norway has described the decision as a disgrace.

- The marginal ice zone is the most important area in the Arctic, and it needs to be protected. I cannot believe that the government are now willing to ignore all scientific evidence and put Arctic wildlife at risk. This is taking Norway in the completely wrong direction at the time of a climate emergency, says Silje Ask Lundberg, leader of Friends of the Earth Norway.

The marginal ice zone is the area in the Arctic where the open ocean and the sea ice meet. The area is an ecological hotpot and plays a crucial role in the Arctic ecosystem, providing homes for wildlife like polar bears, beluga whales, narwhals, and walruses. It offers critical nourishment for other animals to survive. Research shows that it is not only the ice itself which is important for the arctic life. The entire region is crucial for the ecosystem and its survival. Norwegian scientific experts have therefore advised the government to set the southern border of the marginal ice zone with maximum probability of ice. That is, an ice frequency of 0,5%.

Such a border would be in conflict with Norwegian oil drilling licenses that have already been granted in the north of the Barents Sea. Therefore, the Norwegian government has now made a “compromise.” Despite this having no support in the scientific community, the government have chosen to define the marginal ice zone with an ice frequency at 15%. As a result, the southern border of the marginal ice zone will be placed further north, right above the already-granted oil licenses.

- We cannot believe that the Norwegian government think they can overrule scientific facts and make their own definition of the marginal ice zone just to ensure that they can continue drilling for oil in the Arctic. This policy shows that the government does not base its decisions on science or research. Rather, they are puppets for the Norwegian oil lobby, says Lundberg.

For more information, contact:
Silje Lundberg, leader of Naturvernforbundet
Friends of the Earth Norway
+47 91331729
sal@naturvernforbundet.n

Artikkelen ble sist oppdatert: 24.04.2020