Arctic News Roundup: 4-10 October

[Photo by Marc Lanteigne]

by Mingming Shi

1) The Arctic Council Secretariat, based in Tromsø, Norway, has announced that it is seeking a new Advisor position. Further information can be found via this link.

2) As the Greenlandic news agency KNR reported, the European Union has decided to provide a financial package worth approximately euro 225 million to the Greenland government, of which around ninety percent will go to the country’s educational sector and the rest will be to develop renewable energy, hydrogen production and other related ‘green’ research.

3) According to Reuters, the diamond mining firm De Beers had tasked the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) to conduct an inspection of the seabed off Greenland’s west coast for evidence of potential diamond deposits. The eight-day survey concluded with hopes that the region could be the site of new gemstone mining opportunities, despite questions about the possible environmental impact.

4) An extensive report on the environmental and economic impact of thawing permafrost in Arctic Russia was published by the Wall Street Journal. Siberia has been viewed as a major emerging component to the Russian economy, but weakening permafrost in much of the region has begun to threaten critical infrastructure as well as homes and businesses. The diesel oil spill at Norilsk in May 2020 was also blamed on permafrost erosion which ruptured a holding tank.

5) The Canadian news magazine Maclean’s published an article examining the damage of underwater noise on the Arctic narwhal species. The piece explained that, due to the economic potential of more accessible natural resources in the Arctic region, maritime traffic in the area has been increasing. High volume noise, produced from large ships, under the water can severely disturb the normal behaviour patterns of the narwhal. A specific problem area has been Canada’s Baffin Island, where mining and surveys around Tasiujaq have been accompanied by a sharp uptick in ship transits, which have been blamed for adverse effects on local narwhal populations.