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Topics - martalunde68

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The rest / Do you think Hvaldimir is really a Russian spy?
« on: June 17, 2019, 09:45:27 AM »
As you know, Hvaldimir is the beluga whale (its name is a combination of the Russian president’s name, “Vladimir Putin”, and the Norwegian word for whale “hval”), which was encountered by the Norwegian fishermen in the waters of a small fishing village Inga, situated in the Kola Peninsula, well known for its military bases. After removing a harness, which was attached to the body of the mammal, the Norwegian fishermen noticed a label that states, “Equipment of St Petersburg” with a mount for a camera or a weapon.

The Norwegian marine authorities examined the harness and speculated that the beluga whale was a «runaway spy», especially given the unusual friendly behavior and the location where it was first encountered.

According to Audun Rikardsen, the Norwegian arctic and marine biology scientist at the University of Tromsø, the Russian navy is known to possess and train whales for undercover work.

And what do you think?

Policy and solutions / The Arctic: Hopes and Concerns
« on: March 20, 2019, 09:44:43 AM »
Recently, on March 15, Senior Arctic Officials' meeting was held in Ruka, Finland. While enjoying skiing in the beautiful Finnish landscapes, the participants managed to find time for consultations as well.

They reviewed the council's performance over the past two years which claimed to be quite successful. Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials said that they have approved results from projects that focused on education, oil pollution risks, biodiversity, marine ecosystems and Arctic climate change.

Renée Sauvé, Chair of the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group stated that despite the challenges they face, their discussions were very encouraging and showed that they ready, willing, and able to address the issue of marine litter.

Among other speakers of the meeting, the representative of Russia also made a brief statement.

Russian Presidential Adviser Anton Kobyakov commenting on the work of the Arctic Council said that the Arctic countries are working together and that cooperation is having a positive effect in the Arctic as a whole. However, he could not resist but mentioned the strengthening of the defense potential of Russia.

He also added that Russia aims to strengthen its security potential in the Arctic while observing environmental safety regulations. And of course all Russian military activities in the Russian Arctic are discreet but reasonable in scale and pose no threat to other countries in the region (usual Russian song). However at this very time an air defense military base and an airfield on the Novosibirsk Islands are being built in the Arctic region to ensure the security of the country. And there are lots of other examples of Russia’s ‘concern’ about this region (e.g. Northern Fleet patrols in its Arctic waters and significant investing in its naval capacity in the high seas and etc). I’d like to see all these to serve for the better of fragile Arctic.

In August 2007, Russia resumed for the first time since the end of the Cold War. Russia has also The Northern Fleet is arguably the most important asset of the Russian military in the Arctic. It is the most powerful of the four Russian fleets with the greatest number of icebreakers and submarines.

Arctic background / Arctic: New ecological and political threats
« on: February 07, 2019, 01:04:57 PM »
As number of US media informed, US Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer announced his plans to have some warships make the transit in the Arctic in a few months.

“The Navy may follow up October’s carrier strike group operations in the Arctic with another foray into the icy High North, with leadership considering sending a group of ships into a trans-Arctic shipping lane this summer,” he said at a Center for a New American Security January 8, 2019.Four decades ago, in climate of intense Cold war confrontation and nuclear dangers, when American and Soviet ballistic missile submarines and the attack subs that trailed them roamed the oceans peace researchers grew intensely worried about the strategic instability wrought by such dangerous cat and mouse maneuvers. That in turn led to innovative proposals for anti-submarine-warfare-zones as one way of easing tensions and, especially, as a means of reducing the risks that mishaps or miscommunications would escalate out of control. The Arctic has always figured prominently in those proposals. But the pettiest thing is that the Extreme North has been loosing this status. While the different states continue to affirm the absence of Arctic-specific military threats, build up in arms is rather obvious.

Recently the Norwegian radiation protection agency (DSA) informed that the number of nuclear submarines and submarines bearing nuclear-armed intercontinental-range ballistic missiles following along the Norwegian coast up to the Arctic has tripled for the last few years.

Thus, if a couple of years ago DSA registered 10-15 US, British or French subs, nowadays this number 30-40 (just in 2018 – 27!).

So it means that the threat of ecological catastrophe has tripled as well!
And it’s without mentioning a great number of Russian subs!

Taking into consideration US plans to send a group of ships into a trans-Arctic shipping lane this summer the situation is getting worse.
Environmentalists mustn’t be mute! We need to take urgent steps to save the Arctic!

Arctic background / ''The Sea Says SOS''
« on: December 18, 2018, 12:14:55 PM »
I recently found an interesting research. According to studies, 45 % of the air pollution in the Murmansk region is caused by transboundary transport. This region in the North of Russia annually receives 2.4 times more nitrogen compounds from Norway than Vice versa. Sounds freaky, yeah? But here is what I’ve found: the Russian ecological organization “The nature and the youth” has hold an educational campaign in Murmans called “The Sea says SOS”. Ecologists have noticed that the greatest harm to the ecological situation is caused by the nearest Russia’s northern neighbor – Norway! Its industrial enterprises dump waste into the Barents sea, causing irreparable harm to Russian water bodies. Environmentalists raise the alarm, noting that all their work goes to the dogs because of the “Norwegians’ chemical attacks”.

Of course, Russia is not an example of a environmentally-friendly country, but, to be frank, it bears the stamp of truth. Especially after the latest figures that Norway is not any more in the top of the environmentally-friendly countries.

Policy and solutions / Cleaning up the Arctic
« on: July 17, 2018, 04:42:28 PM »
The Arctic environment, as is well known, is extremely harsh. But at the same time it is equally delicate. Despite the long distances separating the Arctic from the densely populated territories, a huge amount of litter is making its way to this remote area and threats the pristine ecosystem. People might think that the problem is as remote as the Arctic itself. But, in fact, it is urgent more than ever.

Drawing attention to the actual experience of cleaning up the Arctic can really help to inspire people to protect the Arctic environment. And, fortunately, this July was rich with at least a couple of worthy role models.

The first one of them I recently came across was the initiative of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) to combat marine pollution by engaging thousands of cruise passengers in cleanups in the Arctic. In Svalbard alone, which is notorious for being polluted with plastic, expedition ships pick up several tons of beach litter each summer. Moreover, I found out that the AECO launched new Arctic cleanup guidelines to motivate people to be part of this important effort.

The other example to mention is the ecological efforts of the Russian Northern Fleet (surprisingly!), which sailed to the New Siberia Islands with the aim to collect tons of scrap metal during the summer and then transport it to the mainland for recycling. Reportedly, by this time last year  the Russians collected about 1100 tons of scrap metal in the Arctic.

Both examples differ from each other, but when it comes to securing the Arctic environment, any kind of help matters. As for me, I find all above mentioned inspiring. What about you?

Policy and solutions / The EU and the Arctic Council
« on: May 18, 2018, 08:49:33 AM »
In the recent years the Arctic has increasingly been called the arena of global confrontation, where the “Big Game” of 21st century takes place. Previously the Arctic zone has traditionally been considered the sphere of interests of the eight Arctic states, which territories (or at least their parts) are beyond the Arctic Circle. But now the situation has changed considerably.

The Arctic resources and opportunities attract all major international players, and the European Union is not an exception, although its separate constituent states are located, frankly speaking, far from the northern latitudes.

The European Union considers itself to be a direct participant in the Arctic policy due to the arctic status of its member-states – Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. But if to sort it out it’ll be obvious that the Arctic territory of Denmark – Greenland – is not part of the EU; Finland and Sweden do not have oceanic boarders with the Arctic and automatically drop out of the dispute over the Arctic shelf. Moreover, the term “EU Arctic policy” raises questions: the Union neither has any legal instruments for implementing full-scale initiatives, nor a clear definition of its policy in the region.

So may be Brussels bureaucrats should better deal with Brexit and leave attempts to politicize the region and use it in their own selfish ends?

The rest / Greenpeace and the Arctic Drilling.
« on: September 07, 2017, 07:58:40 PM »
On August, 17, a group of Greenpeace activists (a total of 35) from the ship Arctic Sunrise entered the exclusion zone of Statoil's oil rig Songa Enabler in the Barents Sea to protest against oil production in the Arctic area. The protestors were trying to draw attention of the Norwegian government to the potential damage that oil and gas production at Barents Sea can do to the fragile Arctic ecosystem.

The police ordered the protestors to leave the security zone, as Norwegian state-owned oil company Statoil had permission to drill in the area. When Greenpeace activists refused to leave, the police requested the Coast Guard to take action. Shortly afterwards, the Coast Guard boarded the Arctic Sunrise , arrested its crew and towed vessel to the Tromso.

Later, on August 21, Greenpeace activists were released. So, the fight against the Arctic drilling will continue. The next battle will take place in the Oslo District Court in November where a climate lawsuit against the Norwegian government for handing out new Arctic oil licenses will be heard.

Arctic background / Arctic - territory of dialogue
« on: February 20, 2017, 07:41:36 PM »
Former NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis suggests Donald Trump to look on the Arctic as an opportunity to start cooperation with Russia on wide range of issues.
Stavridis also proposed holding a summit of the nations with interests in the Arctic to launch new economic, scientific and enviromental projects in the region.
The conference was hold at the Stimson Centres' Army and Navy club on January 13 2017.

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