Arctic nations bet on ‘blue economy’ to reconcile climate, development goals

(EurActiv, 24 Jan 2019) From global warming to over- and illegal fishing, the ocean on which Arctic communities are so heavily dependent is under threat like never before, delegates heard at the Arctic conference in Tromsø, Norway.

Over the last 100 years, temperatures in the Arctic have been rising twice as fast as the global average. Since 1958, Arctic sea ice lost about two-thirds of its thickness, with nearly three-quarters of it forming and melting each year, a recent NASA study found.

According to recent estimates, the Arctic summer ice cap is on track to completely vanish by 2050, which could dramatically change the lives of people living in the region.

The Arctic region surrounding the North Pole is home to 34 species of marine mammals, 633 species of fish and around 4 million people, including indigenous peoples and communities, according to recent estimates by the WWF.

“The ocean is under threat like never before – from climate change, overfishing, marine litter – the most dramatic being climate change,” said Norway’s Special Envoy for the Oceans, Vidar Helgesen.

“We need to build a blue ocean economy that is in sync with the oceans ecology,” he told policymakers and arctic experts gathered for a conference on Arctic policy in Norway’s Arctic capital, Tromsø.

Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s minister for climate and environment, warned of catastrophic impacts on earth ecosystems, human livelihoods and biodiversity in the event of a 2°C global warming scenario.

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EurActiv, 24 Jan 2019: Arctic nations bet on ‘blue economy’ to reconcile climate, development goals