Wednesday October 27, 2021

EU floats ban on Arctic fossil fuel exploitation

October 14, 2021

Brussels: The European Union said on Wednesday it would seek an international agreement to ban the exploitation of gas, coal and oil in the Arctic, weeks before a major UN climate conference.

The Arctic is thought to be hugely rich in resources, with major players including Russia, Canada and the United States vying for control.

But climate warming driven by humanity’s exploitation of fossil fuels is already severely affecting the region, with higher temperatures melting vast areas of ice in recent decades.

Dozens of world leaders are due to meet next month for the COP26 climate summit in the UK, where they face huge pressure to agree meaningful action.

"Coal, gas and oil must remain underground in this region," the EU’s environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius told journalists.

The Commission wants to explore a legal obligation to halt exploitation of reserves in the region and a ban on the sale of such products, he said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said global warming, increased competition and geopolitical rivalries were all contributing to rapid changes in the Arctic.