Arctic News Roundup: 3-9 May

[Photo by Mats Hansson via Pixabay]

by Mingming Shi

1) Visit Greenland, a platform for Greenlandic tourism promoting, published a new article about the history of Hans Egede’s missionary journey in Greenland three hundred years ago, and its centuries-long influence on this Arctic island.

2) As the Canadian news service Eye on the Arctic reported, the Government of Iceland has approved the proposal to open the Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson institute, a research centre dedicated to Arctic affairs and named for the former president of the country. The facilities will be created to strengthen Iceland’s overall Arctic profile.

3) A commentary on Sweden’s latest Arctic strategy was published by the Arctic Institute. The author praised the document for reflecting policy continuance regarding Stockholm’s Arctic interests, and noted that the European Union also had a potential expanded role in play in regional affairs, including development areas. The comment was also critical of the strategy paper for not detailing ways of improving cooperation between Arctic and non-Arctic actors, as well as not more robustly addressing the difficult security milieu has begun to appear in the far north in recent years.

4) According to the Barents Observer, researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences (Российская академия наук) expressed fears that lung cancer cases may soon rise as a result of radon gas being released due to ongoing melting permafrost. This potential phenomenon would not only damage the health of human beings, but also Arctic fauna. Since this gas does not have any colour or odour, it is difficult to detect without specific instruments.

5) The Atlantic published a feature story on the recent elections in Greenland and the role which the debate over rare earths mining played in it. This year’s vote drew an unusual degree of international attention since many of the issues surrounding it were related to wider debates on climate change, globalization, the opening up of the Arctic to greater economic activity, and great power politics.

6) Biophilia, a site overseen by the Spanish BBVA Foundation, announced the publication of a new, free online book [pdf] which presents a multidisciplinary look at issues relating to climate change in the Arctic and the melting of regional ice.

7) Norway’s High North News, remarking on a story from the Greenlandic news service Sermitsiaq, reported that Greenland would lift entry restrictions for tourists from 3 May, with limited numbers of arrivals per week, and quarantine regulations to be followed.