“Vulnerable Arctic” exhibition and Arctic Climate Change Seminar at EU Parliament

The IPF attended two important linked events at the European Parliament on 7 & 8 March. Organised by Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi and the Norwegian Ministries for the Environment and Foreign Affairs, the seminar on 8 March looked at climate change impacts globally and on indigenous peoples in the Arctic region. It followed a reception in the Parliament the previous day which launched an exhibition of the key findings from the 2004 Artic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report - which was on display in the EU parliament's Altiero Spinelli building all of last week (until 10 March).

Speakers at the event were:

  • Jan-Erik Enestam, Minister for the Environment, Finland State Secretary
  • Liv Monica Stubholt, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway
  • Dr Olav Orheim, Norwegian Executive Secretary for the International Polar Year (IPY)
  • Professor Harry Bryden, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Southampton, UK
  • Pekka Aikio, President of the Finnish Sámi Parliament, Finland
  • Satu Hassi, Member of the European Parliament, The Greens/European Free Alliance

Dr Orheim (an honorary member of the International Polar Foundation) gave a thorough overview of why more than 95% of scientists believe human-induced climate change is under way. He noted though that there were important areas needing more data but enhanced international collaboration in the IPY (such as having all the major icebreakers in the Arctic Ocean together at one point) would help fill some of these gaps.

Professor Bryden gave a clear explanation of why his research, which received global media attention at the end of 2005, revealed a disturbing 30% reduction in the intensity of the flow of a key Atlantic thermohaline current, which keeps the Gulf Stream in working order.