Ny «ungdoms-camp» innleder årets Rosendalsveko

Rosendalsveko går av stabelen for andre gang 9. – 11. august, med «Klima, energi, næring og bærekraft på Vestlandet» som hovedtema. I år er arrangementet utvidet med Rosendalshelga i forkant av uken.

Rosendalsveko arrangeres for andre gang i år, innledet av nykommeren Rosendalshelga, som kan beskrives som en "student-camp".

Rosendalsveko arrangeres for andre gang i år, innledet av nykommeren Rosendalshelga, som kan beskrives som en “student-camp”. Her fra arrangement i fjor. Foto: Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu.

– Det vi så i fjor, var at noen av de mest spennende diskusjonene kom når studenter utfordret politikere, næringsliv og akademikere. Derfor legger vi i år opp til en helg for studentene i forkant av uken, i samarbeid med studentorganisasjonen Om i morgen.

Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu leder Rosendalsveko. Til daglig er han klimaforsker ved UiB/Bjerknes.

Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu leder Rosendalsveko. Til daglig er han klimaforsker ved UiB/Bjerknes.

Temaene de jobber med i helgen vil de øvrige deltakerne bli utfordret på under første dag av Rosendalsveko, forklarer programkomiteens Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu (til daglig klimaforsker ved UiB/Bjerknes).

Studentorganisasjonen Om i morgen har selv lagt opp programmet for Rosendalshelga. Tema for workshop’en lørdag er «Hvordan kan vi best utnytte den lange kystlinjen vår?» (kan bli endret). Dette skal resultere i konkrete løsningsforslag.

Både Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub (AE-Bergen) og UiB er bidragsytere til Rosendalsveko. Bidraget fra AE-Bergen går spesifikt til Rosendalshelga og deltakelse for studentene fra Om i morgen.

Studentene vil utfordre

– Jeg er overbevist om at når studentene har jobbet med tema rundt det grønne skiftet i helgen, så vil de finne gode problemstillinger som utfordrer politikere, næringsliv og akademikere, legger Kerim Hestnes til.

– Et av temaene våre er «Lykkes Vestlandet – lykkes Norge». Jeg mener virkelig at ressursene og aktiviteten på Vestlandet tilsier at det faktisk er slik om Vestlandet lykkes, så lykkes Norge. Dersom vi finner de bærekraftige løsningene så vil vår tilgang på kraft og ressurser gjøre at vi kan lede an i det grønne skiftet.

Panelsamtalen «Vestlandet i et globalt perspektiv» blir moderert av vitenskapelig leder i AE-Bergen, Eystein Jansen. Debatten foregår på avsluttende dag av Rosendalsveko, onsdag 11. august.

Panelsamtalen «Vestlandet i et globalt perspektiv» blir moderert av vitenskapelig leder i AE-Bergen, Eystein Jansen.

– At Rosendalsveko retter seg mot både politikere, næringsliv og akademia gjør at det kan ligge et godt kunnskapsgrunnlag bak våre løsningsforslag, og det trenger vi studentene til å hjelpe oss med, sier Kerim Hestnes.

Panelsamtalen «Vestlandet i et globalt perspektiv» blir moderert av vitenskapelig leder i AE-Bergen, Eystein Jansen. Blant paneldeltakerne er Margareth Hagen, rektor ved UiB. Debatten foregår på avsluttende dag av Rosendalsveko, onsdag 11. august.

Studentorganisasjonen Om i morgen ble startet i 2019 ved mat-nat fakultetet ved UiB, med studenter på klima, atmosfære og havfysikk som initiativtakere. Etter hvert har medlemsmassen blitt mye mer tverrfaglig. Nå er det også studenter fra blant annet sammenliknende politikk, psykologi, juss og økonomi i tillegg til naturvitenskapelige fagfelt med i Om i morgen.

Tore Furevik i samtale Silje Skjelsvik fra Om i morgen under Rosendalsveko i fjor.

Tore Furevik i samtale Silje Skjelsvik fra Om i morgen under Rosendalsveko i fjor.

Liv Svenningsson Krogstad og Tilda Totland Persson i Om i morgen mener at tverrfagligheten har blitt en styrke for organisasjonen.

– Tverrfaglighet gir oss mulighet til å jobbe hverandre gode på områder man kanskje ikke er så godt kjent med i utgangspunktet. Det gjør at vi får inn ulike meninger og bakgrunner som vi kan ta med i videre arbeid. Den viktigste kilden til erfaring og læring er å delta i organisasjoner som jobber med det du engasjerer deg i, sier Tilda Totland Persson.

Medlemmene i Om i morgen har selv lagt opp programmet for Rosendalshelga.

Tilda Totland Persson Liv Svenningsson Krogstad i Om i morgen har vært med å lage programmet for Rosendalshelga.

Tilda Totland Persson Liv Svenningsson Krogstad i Om i morgen har vært med å lage programmet for Rosendalshelga.

– Vi har lagt vekt på at deltakerne skal lære noe og dra fra Rosendal med kunnskap og ideer, samt utfordre seg selv til å finne løsninger på klimautfordringer. Vi synes også det er viktig at deltakerne har det kjekt sosialt, og får tid til å bli kjent med hverandre og knytte nettverk. Programmet består blant annet av innlegg fra Renate Nedregård (ny leder i Klimapartnere Vestland) og Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu, forklarer Liv og Tilda.

De tror at mange av ungdommene fra helge-campen vil få med seg flere av arrangementene også når selve Rosendalsveko begynner på mandagen.  

Urgent action needed to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050

The SAPEA report “A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe” suggests several possible pathways towards a carbon-neutral future. However, the SAPEA evidence review report concludes that achieving carbon-neutrality by 2050 will require urgent action.

The SAPEA report “A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe” points to six main themes to be addressed.

The SAPEA report “A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe” points to six main themes to be addressed.

Coinciding with the report, the corresponding Scientific Opinion of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors has also been published.

The report points to six main themes to be addressed:

Technological diversity: Huge global investments in technology will be needed in the coming decades. But in general it is often difficult to predict the winning technologies of the future. So, rather than searching for a single silver bullet, Europe must develop and deploy a broad range of technologies while maintaining common, EU-wide goals. This is important not only to create a dynamic and flexible energy system, but also because different countries in Europe have different structures and needs.

Managing deep complexity: We must find new ways to balance supply and demand in a complex energy system that includes variable sources such as solar and wind power. Electrification, new infrastructure, energy efficiency, demand management, and innovative uses of data can all help to manage this complexity. For hard-to-decarbonise sectors, such as long distance transport and heavy industry, there are alternatives to direct electrification, such as green hydrogen fuels.

Governance and regulation: We need a strong carbon pricing mechanism as part of a mixture of regulatory measures and incentives. The existing European Emissions Trading System should be extended to all relevant sectors, including transport and heating/cooling, and political leaders should commit to very high carbon prices by the middle of the century, reflecting the full environmental impact of greenhouse gases. Revenues raised in this way should be used to support a fair transition, to ensure that no-one is left behind.

Behaviour and participation: Facilitating public behaviour and action at multiple levels is just as important as developing new technologies. In the energy system of the future, actions at individual, household, local and regional levels will play a central role in supporting energy generation and shifting patterns of use.

Global leadership: The EU is well placed to take a global lead in reducing emissions in a way that is economically efficient and socially equitable, while maintaining competitiveness. Europe must strengthen its diplomatic efforts to ensure that the Paris Agreement is followed by everyone, and to account for the emissions which are generated by goods imported into Europe. Reciprocal commitments from other countries will be more effective than overachieving in Europe alone.

Supply chain security: We must manage the global supply of materials needed to support clean energy technologies. Our dependency on imported fuels will decrease as we transition to green energy, but we must actively promote innovation, development and circular economy within Europe, or else we will end up with new dependencies on the imported materials that we need.

Within SAPEA, the lead academy delivering the Evidence Review Report was Euro-CASE. However, from Academia Europaea, Andreas Löschel of the University of Münster, Germany contributed in the working group.

View or download the report here.

Maria Leptin is the next President of the European Research Council

Maria Leptin was appointed President of the European Research Council (ERC) by the European Commission on June 30th.

Professor Maria Leptin is a highly respected scientist working on developmental biology and immunology. She leads research groups at the Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, and at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), in Heidelberg. In 2010, she was appointed Director of EMBO, the European Commission states in a press release on the occasion of Leptins appointment.

The ERC Scientific Council also congratulate Maria Leptin in a press release:

We look forward to working together on the continued success of the ERC, Europe’s leading instrument for funding excellent frontier research.

The appointment of Maria Leptin is the outcome of a rigorous selection process, in which an independent Search Committee evaluated thoroughly all applications and nominations received, and prepared a short list of candidates for the position. The finalists were interviewed by the ERC Scientific Council, which informed Commissioner Mariya Gabriel of the ones it approved. The Commissioner then made the final decision, as the procedure stipulates.

We wholeheartedly support the outcome of the process, and welcome Maria Leptin as the next leader of our unique organisation. Her strong scientific and managerial backgrounds, her long-term involvement with European issues, her pioneering role in the scientific community and her familiarity with European institutions are all highly appreciated.

Her strong leadership will be essential in ensuring that frontier research continues to play a central role in the Horizon Europe framework programme, and that the ERC makes good use of its autonomy, as guaranteed by the legislative texts. Strict adherence to the bottom-up principle, leaving the full initiative to researchers, as well as using scientific quality and the pursuit of excellence as the sole criterion for the selection of proposals, will remain the cornerstones of the ERC’s mission.

Here is  the full ERC Scientific Council statement.

Summer greetings from Academic Director Eystein Jansen

Dear AE members, colleagues and friends,

Academic Director Eystein Jansen

Academic Director Eystein Jansen looks back on some major developments for the AE-Bergen Hub over the last 6 months.

Another semester has passed. While the prospects for the next semester are promising, we are not yet at the point where we can plan for normal activities. And what are normal activities? The pandemic will have a lasting impact on Academic life and the operations of academies such as ours. The next semester will likely see us moving into some more physical meetings and events.

This is good, but we will also bring with us new skills in organising meetings and webinars online. This can reduce our carbon footprint, and open our events to audiences we hitherto have not reached with our activities. This will provide opportunities for stronger interactions with members and stakeholders in the Nordic/Baltic region. There will be a phase of trying out how to balance physical and online activities, and we would much appreciate feedback and ideas on this matter as we move into the post-COVID time.

Despite the pandemic restrictions we have had an active semester, as you will see elsewhere in this newsletter and on our website. To name some: We took active part in the Arctic Frontiers conference, where we organized a well-attended online event in April together with Pacific Environment and the University of Bergen on: Arctic Marine Operations and Shipping – Green initiatives and challenges. On the initiative of the Norwegian Embassy in Tallin, we co-organised an online seminar with the Estonian Academy of Sciences: The changing Arctic, on Arctic Research in Norway and Estonia, primarily comprising young scholars. This will be followed up by collaborative workshops later this year.

Academic director at the AE-Bergen Hub, Eystein Jansen, gave an overview the Arctic/polar research landscape in Norway.

Academic director at the AE-Bergen Hub, Eystein Jansen, gave an overview the Arctic/polar research landscape in Norway at the webinar: The changing Arctic.

Late last year the EU Parliament and the EU Council and Commission finally came to an agreement on the 7-year financial framework for the Horizon Europe Programme. To the European Research community this was a relief, but it was also disappointing to see that the initial proposals for a strong budget for Pillar 1 which funds the ERC and the MSCA were cut significantly, thus regrettably lowering the ambitions for basic research. A strong mobilisation from many actors within the European science community, where AE and our Hub were very active, balanced this to some extent, and the end result was better than feared.

Yet this experience underscores the need for a strong and continued campaign for the necessity of Europe significantly raising its ambitions for Frontier Research. This is crucial if the aims for Europe to become the most innovative continent are to be realistic. The Pandemic clearly exemplifies how important investigator-driven Frontier Research is for our capacity to tackle the great challenges of our time, where the best minds can develop and follow their ideas. This will be an important task for the Hub when implementing our new Strategic Plan which you will find links to on our website and elsewhere in this newsletter.

Our Strategic Plan was recently approved by our Advisory Board and will guide our new initiatives and activities. Our Advisory Board is undergoing some changes: Professor Margareth Hagen, rector of the University of Bergen (UiB) has this spring taken over the Board Chair position from Professor Dag Rune Olsen (previous UiB-rector). Professor Marja Makarow leaves our Board as she takes over as president of Academia Europaea. She is replaced by Professor Carl Gahmberg, Chancellor of Åbo Akademi University. In addition, we are happy to include a new Danish member to our Board; Professor Kirsten Drotner of the University of Southern Denmark.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have the new members help in further developing our Hub, and also for the commitments from Dag Rune and Marja for their contributions and engagements for the Hub. I look forward to continuing close collaboration with Marja in her role as new AE President, and also with Dag Rune Olsen taking on as the new rector at the University of Tromsø.

Professor Marja Makarow leaves our Board as she takes over as president of Academia Europaea.

Professor Marja Makarow leaves our Board as she takes over as president of Academia Europaea.

The Horizon Europe Work Programme was finally launched this week. The programme includes funding for the next phase of the SAPEA project, part of the Commission’s Scientific Advise Mechanism to develop evidence reports in support of knowledge-based policy development in the European Union. The Bergen Hub will take formal part in the next face of SAPEA under the lead of the Cardiff Hub, a job we really look forward to! The Hub will further develop its role within the network of AE Hubs where increased interactions are planned between the Hubs. But more on this later! Hence, there will be more to do, and the new agreement between AE and the University of Bergen which was recently signed gives our Hub a secure foundation for the coming 4-yars period.

Meanwhile I wish all of you a splendid, safe and relaxed summer!

Eystein

 

Margareth Hagen is the new chair of AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub Advisory Board – 2 new members

Following her election as new Rector of the University of Bergen, Margareth Hagen is the new chair of the Hub´s Adisory Board. We also welcome 2 additional new members to our Advisory Board.

University of Bergen rector Margareth Hagen is the new chair of the Advisory Board of AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub.

University of Bergen rector Margareth Hagen is the new chair of the Advisory Board of AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub.

Only 2 days earlier, on May 25th, rector Margareth Hagen signed a renewed contract between Academia Europaea and UiB. The contract states that UiB will continue to host and facilitate the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub for the next 4 years.

— I look very much forward to take on the role as chair of the Advisory Board of the AE-Bergen Hub. The Hub’s focus on sustainability issues, marine and arctic topics aligns very well with the strategic plan of the University of Bergen, rector Margareth Hagen said during the digital contract signing ceremony.

— In these strategically important areas, as well as other areas, I see potential for synergies both between different research disciplines, between our institution and other hubs, and with the Academia Europaea at large, she added.

Professor Marja Makarow leaves our Board as she takes over as president of Academia Europaea.

Professor Marja Makarow leaves our Board as she takes over as president of Academia Europaea.

As Margareth Hagen joins the Advisory Board of the AE-Bergen Hub as chair, she is also joined by two other new board members, namely Prof. Kirsten Drotner of the University of Southern Denmark and Prof. emer. Carl G. Gahmberg of the University of Helsinki, Finland. In addition to securing representation for all Nordic countries in the Advisory Board, the new members also provide expertise in the fields of media (Drotner), and molecular and integrative biosciences (Gahmberg).

Margareth Hagen replaces former rector of UiB, Dag Rune Olsen, as chair of the Advisory Board. Other outgoing members are Prof. Marja Makarow, director of Biocenter Finland. The AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub wishes to thank our outgoing Advisory Board members for their excellent contributions.

Arctic Frontiers Science conference 2022 calls for abstracts

Arctic Frontiers Science 2022 will take place on 31 January – 3 February 2022, and is now calling for abstracts from scientists with projects connected to the Arctic.

 

Arctic Frontiers will host five science sessions, described in detail here. As a partner of the Arctic Frontiers Conference, the AE-Bergen Hub can cover expenses for 2-3 scientists/scholars or students who want to participate the Arctic Frontiers Conference 2022. Application details will be available in early autumn.

Arctic Frontiers Science conference is traditionally international and multidisciplinary, bringing together social sciences, humanities, physical and life sciences. The Arctic Frontiers Science is focusing on both fundamental and solution-oriented research with strong impact, which addresses growing societal challenges and needs in the Arctic region. Arctic Frontiers Science is developed with the guidance of the Strategic Science Committee of Arctic Frontiers.

The abstract submission system will be open on the Arctic Frontiers website later this month. The abstract submission deadline is 1 September 2021. Further updates and information will be published on this page.

 

Active year for AE-Bergen amid Covid restrictions

The annual report of the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub for 2020 is now available to download from our website. The report shows an active year, despite Covid restrictions. The AE-Bergen Hub participated in 7 live events before the pandemic, and 1 live event (Rosendal Week) during the relative easing of restrictions in August.

The Hub also participated in several digital events during 2020.

Several organisational developments took place, such as the establishment of a not-for-profit- company to be able to organise and coordinate activities e.g., for project management within Horizon Europe. Our nomination of Rebecca Cox to the SAM (Scientific Advice Mechanism) expert group on ‘How can Europe ensure adequate management of and better preparedness for future epidemics and pandemics in the global context?’ resulted in her participation as expert consultant for the report commissioned by the EU.

The AE-Bergen Hub annual report will also give indications of the key elements in our soon-to-be-finalised Strategy Plan.

You can view or download the annual report here.

 

University of Bergen will host AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub four more years

— This collaboration and partnership will help the University of Bergen to maintain a strong link to European policy development in the coming years, rector Margareth Hagen said during the signing ceremony for the new 4 year-contract between Academia Europaea and UiB.

 

A recording of the contract ceremony is available on the link above.

The contract means that UiB will host and facilitate the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub for the next 4 years. UiB has been hosting the Hub since 2016.

Present at the digital ceremony was, representing Academia Europaea (AE): David Coates, Executive Secretary of AE, Sierd Cloetingh, President of AE, and the Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Hub, Eystein Jansen. University of Bergen was represented by rector Margareth Hagen. The contract was signed by AE President Cloetingh and by rector Hagen.

The event May 25th was chaired by Executive Secretary David Coates, who started the ceremony by outlining the history of the AE-Bergen Hub, from the beginning in 2014 and from UiB took over the host responsibilities in 2016.

The AE-Bergen Hub is the northern hub of Academia Europaea, covering the Nordic and Baltic states. An important task for the hub is to select and nominate scientists for SAPEA reports, evidence reports commissioned by the EU.

Contract signing AE-Bergen and UiB

University of Bergen and AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub renewed it’s contract for 4 more years on May 25th.

Prof. Cloetingh highlighted the importance of the AE-Bergen Hub in this work. In addition, he presented the themes of the upcoming SAPEA reports, which will be “A systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe” and “Crisis Resilience”. 

Best scientific evidence

— Academia Europaea seeks to provide the best scientific evidence for EU policy, and to connect academies and networks across Europe, as well as promote the role of science in policymaking, Prof. Cloetingh said.

Priorities for the AE-Bergen Hub are marine and Arctic issues, cooperation with SAPEA (Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies), and advocacy for establishing independent national science advice mechanisms throughout our region, as well as sustainability issues.

Concerning the future of the AE-Bergen Hub, Academic Director Eystein Jansen made a point of the Hub and UiB´s new status as a linked 3rd party in the upcoming SAPEA+ project, creating new possibilities.

Rector of UiB, Margareth Hagen, closed the ceremony.

Engagement in careers of young scientists

— I am very pleased to sign this new contract with Academia Europaea, where UiB commits to being the host institution for the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub for the next four years, Margareth Hagen said, noting that the collaboration will help the University of Bergen to maintain a strong link to European policy development in the coming years.

— I am also very pleased to see the engagement that AE has in the careers of young, European researchers, something that is very close to my heart, Margareth Hagen added in her closing remarks.

Rector Margareth Hagen is also the new chair of the Advisory Board of the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub.

Estonian-Norwegian scientific cooperation discussed during joint webinar “The Changing Arctic”

The Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn University of Technology, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research/University of Bergen and the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub in cooperation with the Norwegian Embassy in Tallinn co-hosted the webinar “The Changing Arctic” on April 14th, a joint Estonian-Norwegian scientific event.

The webinar pointed towards further Estonian-Norwegian scientific cooperation in Arctic Research, and it also received media attention in Estonia.

Academic director at the AE-Bergen Hub, Eystein Jansen, gave an overview the Arctic/polar research landscape in Norway.

Academic director at the AE-Bergen Hub, Eystein Jansen, gave an overview the Arctic/polar research landscape in Norway.

Academic director at the AE-Bergen Hub, Eystein Jansen, presented at the webinar. His presentation focused on recent evidence classifying the current climate changes in the Arctic as abrupt changes, compared to previous periods of climate change. He also gave an overview the Arctic/polar research landscape in Norway.

In a press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia writes:

The joint virtual seminar “The Changing Arctic” focused on scientific cooperation between the countries to deal, with climate change and other issues related to the Arctic. Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets and the State Secretary of Norway Audun Halvorsen made introductory statements. The seminar was opened by the President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere, and Norwegian Ambassador to Estonia Else Berit Eikeland made welcoming remarks.

Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said Arctic issues had a prominent place in the action plans of both Estonia and Norway. “As a country on the Arctic coast, Norway is a major scientific power in the Arctic, and we would like to learn from and cooperate with Norway in this field. Estonia is currently applying for observer status on the Arctic Council to contribute to the sustainable development of the Arctic.”

“Scientists are observing, interpreting and analysing rapid change in the Arctic,” Minister Liimets said. “Their message is clear: climate change is the challenge of our time and nowhere is it more obvious than in the Arctic. We can only get enough data to keep up with and adapt to change in the Arctic through joint measures and international cooperation. The Arctic ecosystem is vulnerable and it is the task of concerned countries to listen to scientists and work together.”

The webinar was moderated by Professor Maarja Kruusmaa, whose joint project MAMMAMIA with the University of Oslo looks at the mechanisms of accelerating land ice loss.

The webinar was moderated by Professor Maarja Kruusmaa, whose joint project MAMMAMIA with the University of Oslo looks at the mechanisms of accelerating land ice loss.

The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway Audun Halvorsen said that cooperation in Arctic research is crucial to adapting to climate change and developing new technologies that would contribute to sustainable jobs and the creation of values. “The rising temperatures in the Arctic are mainly caused by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and not by human activity in the region. This means that we must set and meet global targets to improve the situation in the Arctic. And Norway is determined to do its part.”

At the webinar, scientists from Estonia and Norway gave a more detailed overview of the situation in the Arctic and the impacts of the Arctic climate change in the region and on ecosystems, and also presented their work and joint projects. The seminar reaffirmed the interest of both countries in continuing and boosting cooperation – the scientists of both countries are already involved in several projects. For example, TalTech’s Department of Geology and the Norwegian Polar Institute have been engaged in drilling and analysing ice cores in Svalbard.

The webinar was moderated by Professor Maarja Kruusmaa, whose joint project MAMMAMIA with the University of Oslo looks at the mechanisms of accelerating land ice loss.

The seminar was organised by the Estonian Academy of Sciences, TalTech and the Norwegian Embassy in Estonia. The programme was compiled by the Polar Research Committee of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research at the University of Bergen, and the Academia Europaea Bergen Hub. In addition to strengthening bilateral relations and advancing the polar cooperation of Estonia and Norway, the seminar also presented Estonia’s Arctic research expertise in light of Estonia’s bid for observer status on the Arctic Council.

The seminar is part of a series of events dedicated to the centenary of diplomatic relations between Estonia and Norway.

Watch the event here.

Estonian media covered the event, among them public broadcaster ERR.

Pathways towards more sustainable shipping in the Arctic

The webinar “Arctic Marine Operations and Shipping: Green Initiatives and Challenges”, organised by the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub (AE-Bergen), Pacific Environment, University of Bergen, and Arctic Frontiers on April 7th 2021, is now available as a recording. In this article, you’ll also find selected highlights.

Major economies aim to be carbon neutral by 2050. Such an ambition implies an almost full transition away from using fossil fuels to power the transport sector, including maritime transport. How will the maritime Arctic be influenced by global responses to climate change? The webinar, organised by the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub (AE-Bergen), Pacific Environment, University of Bergen, and Arctic Frontiers on 7 April 2021, addressed maritime transport in the Arctic and provided insights into a complex set of issues: the Arctic policy framework for marine safety and environmental protection; indigenous and conservation perspectives; green ship technology; marine infrastructure; and, what measures are needed to make Arctic marine operations and shipping more sustainable.

Jim Gamble (Director, Arctic Programme Director of Pacific Environment) chaired the webinar, and Eystein Jansen (Professor at the University of Bergen, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research and Academic Director of Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub) served as a moderator.

A recording of the webinar is available below: 

The full recording and discussion is also available in it’s original form on the Arctic Frontiers digital platform:  https://myonvent.com/event/arctic-frontiers.

In his presentation titled “Challenges and policies for Arctic marine operations and shipping”, Dr. Lawson Brigham highlighted the complexity of marine operations and shipping. Arctic marine operations should be discussed in the context of global changes and trends, as the Arctic cannot be separated from geopolitics, climate change, sanctions, and other regional and global processes. In many cases, the infrastructure deficit and lack of hydrographic, ocean, and meteorological data are challenging for safe operations. Implementation of the Polar Code will be critical in the following decades to ensure the safety of marine operations and environmental protection.

During the presentation entitled “The green transition for arctic shipping”, Morten Mejlænder-Larsen pointed out that the decarbonization pathways of shipping depend on regulatory and policy measures, fuel prices, and future seaborne trade demands. As of today, we are still far away from starting a transition.

During the webinar, several experts highlighted the lack of Arctic infrastructure as a barrier to the green transition within the maritime industry.

During the webinar, several experts highlighted the lack of Arctic infrastructure as a barrier to the green transition within the maritime industry.

The transition is expected to be costly. LNG is already used, primarily for deep-sea shipping. Ammonia and methanol are among the most promising alternative fuels in addition to sustainably produced biofuels. When it comes to engine technology, hybrid engines are becoming a new standard these days and bring many advantages for operations in the Arctic.

According to Hege Økland (CEO, Maritime CleanTech), 90% of shipping emissions come from international shipping. Due to the long life span of vessels, shipbuilders need to foresee future the upcoming regulations at an early stage, when ships are being planned and constructed.

Russia is the largest Arctic country, and hence the drivers of the development of the Russian Arctic are of great interest. According to Arild Moe, Research Professor at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, it is essential to include Russian experts in the discussions focusing on the future technology and governance in Arctic shipping.

According to Dr. Moe, the primary traffic along the Northern Sea Route consists of destination shipping. The demand for international transit shipping remains somewhat unclear at this point as the economic benefit is uncertain.

Russia focuses on the development of Arctic transit shipping. While the Northern Sea Route is not a fully-fledged alternative to the Suez canal at the moment, it can serve as an option alongside the Suez as transit traffic picks up.

The Executive Director of the Bering Sea Elders Group, Mellisa Johnson,  highlighted the concern that the local communities in Alaska have regarding the food safety of the locally produced food they harvest and trade. Increased shipping poses several environmental threats, such as risks of oil spills and disturbance of animals’ migration patterns. “The ocean is our grocery store. Marine vessel traffic can influence our way of life”, – said Melissa Johnson.

Dr. Sian Prior is a lead advisor at the Clean Arctic Alliance, which advocates for HFO (heavy fuel oil) free Arctic Ocean. Dr. Prior highlighted the concern that black carbon emissions have increased in the Arctic by 85% between 2015 and 2019. She further highlighted the need to switch to the other type of fuels. Such shift alone can account for a 40% reduction in black carbon emissions. The use of filters can reduce emissions even further. According to Dr. Prior, Arctic shipping can become a flagship for the rest of the world.

During the webinar, several experts highlighted the lack of Arctic infrastructure as a barrier to the green transition within the maritime industry.  Regulatory aspects play a crucial role in the further implementation and scaling up of the existing technologies.

This webinar is the first step in a series of discussions ahead of the upcoming Arctic Frontiers 2022 conference. The work of Arctic Frontiers will traditionally facilitate pan-Arctic stakeholder engagement by linking business, policy, science, and society.

Furthermore, the theme of Arctic infrastructure will be among the core themes discussed during the conference in Tromsø in early 2022.