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Arctic oil drill ban would be 'irresponsible': Bildt

3 May 2012, 18:15

Published: 03 May 2012 18:15 GMT+02:00

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I think everyone knows that environmental issues are exceptionally important for the period that Sweden holds the Presidency of the Arctic Council.

The Council is an intergovernmental organization that in recent years has become more robust, and after extensive negotiations last year we were able to conclude the first binding agreement between the eight member states. It was about the rescue operations in the Arctic region.

While we were in agreement that the next step would be to launch negotiations on an agreement for cooperation in dealing with the environmental impact of oil exploration in the Arctic, mainly various forms of emissions.

That work is ongoing, and I have every hope that it will be possible to close a deal on time. Norway, the United States, Russia, and Greenland are the ones most closely involved in this work, but environmental organizations also have a seat at the table where these matters are discussed.

In addition we are also working to strengthen prevention efforts related to oil exploration and to protect sensitive areas in the Arctic.

In some quarters, people want us to work toward having all these countries prohibit the extraction of oil in the Arctic Ocean.

This is a point of view which currently has a small chance of success

As long as the extraction is under coastal states' jurisdiction, they also should have the right to decide. Currently, there is no desire by the coastal states to impose a global moratorium.

We would simply hit our heads against the wall and waste the opportunity for progress that now actually exists when it comes to environmental protection in the Arctic. It would hardly be responsible - especially towards the environment.

In our western neighbor, Norway, these issues have been discussed intensively for a long time, and my impression is that in Norway managed to achieve a good balance between the competing interests.

Awareness of the demands the environment places is very strong.

In Russia there is much that needs to be improved.

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The country's dependence on the extraction of energy in the arctic regions, such as the Yamal Peninsula and Kara Sea, will probably increase, and then the work we have currently launched in the Arctic Council to protect the environment is of the utmost importance.

In May next year we will hand over the Arctic Council presidency to Canada, and when I visit Ottawa as well as the country's northernmost areas in the coming weeks to, these issues will be the focus of the talks.

Carl Bildt is Sweden's Minister of Foreign Affairs. This article was originally published in Swedish on the Newsmill opinion website.

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Your comments about this article

20:59 May 4, 2012 by tadchem
Greenpeace is categorically against any activity that digs into the ground. If they had their way, almost all post-Stone-Age technology would be banned. The Bronze Age needed tin and copper mines, so they would not have let that happen.

Picking up sticks and stones to throw is still OK.
01:42 May 5, 2012 by Grokh
people like bildt are a cancer to this world.

wouldnt irresponsibility come from the fact that by continuing to use oil the more we will polute and the more sick people will get , without even talking about climate change...

Isnt the irresponsible thing to do is let shell rape another place with oil spills like they have done in so many places in the past?

irresponsibility is letting someone like bildt open his mouth , all he says is bullsht
07:01 May 5, 2012 by Lavaux
Could someone explain to me why extracting oil from a vast wilderness where very few people live is a matter of environmental concern? I really don't get it. Seriously.

Let's consider the following alternatives:

1. We can have a world with a pristine natural environment that is sparsely populated by enlightened human beings who value the pristine natural environment above all, but getting to that state will require the impovrishment, starvation and death of 7 billion human beings, or

2. We can have a world with a pristine natural environment in the wilderness and altered environments where the 7 billion humans live, free of forced poverty, famine and incomprehensible regulations that put their natural resources off limits.

Anyone who chooses the first option should be seen for what he is - anti-human and a potential mass murderer. This is not a reductio ad absurdum argument; fanatical environmentalists have actually proposed measures to control human reproduction, ban all carbon energy extraction, ban all carbon energy use, and ban ordinary people from enjoying the wilderness.
12:13 May 5, 2012 by HelmiVainikka
" fanatical environmentalists have actually proposed measures to control human reproduction, ban all carbon energy extraction, ban all carbon energy use, and ban ordinary people from enjoying the wilderness. "

Absolutely correct, they want to bulldozer anything industrial to the ground and "give it back to nature". The bigger problem is that some of these fanatics actually have very high positions among certain governments and the UN.

And yes, population reduction also is something they indeed follow. Through "soft-kill" and vaccines that can be done very much "between the lines".

Aside of that, Bildt too is not much more than a tall and fugly CIA puppet with a horrible accent.
12:34 May 5, 2012 by Max Reaver
of course Carl Bildt doesnt want a ban on oil drilling, he used to be part of that god-damned Lundin Oil company!
16:10 May 5, 2012 by Eric1
Green Peace is a miss guided group. No one wants to live in the stone age, if these people have their way there will mass poverty and starvation. The left has become illogical, destructive and dangerous.
23:37 May 5, 2012 by Grokh

no one lives near the drilling platforms of the gulf of mexico but when the oil started spilling not only it affected people but several species of fish and their reproductive cycles.

it is not environmentally extreme to not poop where you eat.

all you people thinking that any logical evaluation of something that affects the environment is extreme should really stop watching conspiracy theories.

i for once love eating meat , fish etc, i just dont like it with lead, mercury or extinct , and within all this extremety i also like to breathe air that wont give me cancer.

Such an extremist i must be -_-x
11:10 May 6, 2012 by Liquidmonkey
there are two untouched natural areas left on earth, the arctic and antarctic.

every other place on the planet has been drilled, mined etc and there have always been accidents which have a larger impact on the surrounding area.

bildt has it backwards. it would be irresponsible to allow drilling in these areas. period.

IF there were better laws holding companies responsible for damages they cause or laws saying 'u can dig, drill or mine, but put it back the way u found it' then it might be ok but accidents still happen and then the finger pointing starts and companies go to trial, meanwhile, animals die and people get poisoned or don't get compensation for damages done.

oil is no longer the only energy solution. put money and effort into alternatives instead.

haven't we crapped on this planet enough?
09:11 May 7, 2012 by karex

Agree! The problem with most of us people is that we justify one extreme by saying it will cure another.No extremes work, they just exacerbate the matter even more. NEW ideas are needed, not just the old arguments which never get anywhere because most have no foot to stand on aside from fanaticism. Drilling in the ocean ANYWHERE is a bad idea. Unlesss you are drilling for core samples or something non-polluting. There are such things called tides people, which know no political or any other kinds of boundaries. Greenpeace started off with a good idea, but have since just joined the ranks of the fanatics so they no longer have my sympathies. They're about as bad as the greedy, money-hungry other fanatics who don't mind destroying the planet as long as they can "go out in luxury".
18:44 May 7, 2012 by JoeSnow
What he meant to say was.... It would be irresponsible to his corporate overlords.
11:38 May 9, 2012 by skogsbo
it's fine for the moaners to say protect the environment, which I'm all for and do in a multiple of ways. But and it's a big but, the vast majority of moaners (and most of the world), won't pay real prices for goods. Without new sources of oil, fuel and thus ALL goods will cost more, much more. Most people don't make the connection, the USA will moan any president out of office if fuel went up by another 10-20%, they would happily see the Artic and Antartic wiped off a map, before they gave up gasoline and stopped polluting.

Are the moaners also prepared to leave 33% in poverty/starvation etc. whilst they sit at their laptop, in their heated house, next to their fully stocked fridge/freezer telling everyone to stop destroying the world? We've had our cake, but doesn't that mean other can't? Careful management and strict enforcement of regulations is the key, not simply a no go area. Fines to such a high level that an oil or mining company would be out of business if they broke them, is a fair deterrent.
04:25 May 11, 2012 by Grokh

while it is true that people are stupid enough to rather see unstable climate than to pay the real price of things, it is also very negative to think that human race, no mater how retarded it is, cannot adapt to such changes.

if oil was to finish tomorrow, i wouldnt give a week before new and clean fuel would pop up right away.

what stops this progress is the money/power behind oil.
11:46 May 15, 2012 by skogsbo
if there was a new and clean fuel waiting in the wings it would be here now, at a premium price. If shell etc were sitting on fantastic patents, which many claim they are, wouldn't by starting to exploit them, before their competitors invented similar products?

If a new fuel appeared tomorrow, it would be useless, as every diesel and petrol engine would need converting to run on it.

The human race can and will adapt to climate change, there will be starvation for many, wars over water and food for others. But, overall the human race will survive. It might be pretty grim 200years whilst the global population settles down into a new heirachy though.
23:54 May 28, 2012 by entry
There are so many brain washed people. Pixie dust and flubber does not exist. The meetings between the governments with territorial claims in the arctic focus on claims, territory, drilling rights, sea lanes and security of the sea lanes. There is a butt load of natural gas in the arctic and it is believed that there is a hell of a lot of oil in the arctic. It will be brought to market.
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