Future Arctic: Sustainable Solutions
The Arctic is a vital region for Russia’s development and international collaboration
“The Russian Arctic has always been a cornerstone for the country and a place to apply best practices. After decades of development, every step in the Arctic is still underpinned with innovation. Science is moving ahead of production. <…> We have committed to implementing the decree issued by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to make the Northern Sea Route a competitive global transit artery, and increase the volume of goods transported to 80 million tonnes by 2025,” Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.
“Russia has long been systemically developing the Arctic through establishing transport corridors. At the time of the Soviet Union, cargo volumes transported along the Northern Sea Route reached a peak of 7 million tonnes. <…> Last year, the figure was more than 20 million tonnes,” Igor Tonkovidov, Executive Vice President, Chief Technical Officer, Sovcomflot.
“The Arctic has always been a region of peace, dialogue, and preserving traditions. Today, there are many tools at our disposal to engage in dialogue. In light of climate change, collaboration is of foremost importance,” Grigory Ledkov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for Nationalities.
Environmental protection is a crucial prerequisite to developing the Arctic
“Emission reductions also bring health benefits,” Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Finland; Chair of the Northern Forum (2001–2005).
“In 2017, the Arctic states adopted a collective goal to reduce black carbon emissions by 25–33%. Reaching this goal is an essential task for all Arctic states. Research indicates that 40% of the black carbon in the Arctic comes from flaring. Reducing flaring is therefore a key priority, and the World Bank’s Zero Routing Flaring by 2030 initiative is endorsed by all oil‑producing Arctic states,” Roy Angelvik, State Secretary for the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries of the Kingdom of Norway.
Pollution and global warming
“One hundred and two environmentally hazardous facilities have been identified in the Russian Arctic. In 2012, more than 20 clean-up measures were implemented, more than 80,000 tonnes of waste were removed, and more than 200 hectares of land were recultivated,” Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.
“Warming leads to melting ice caps and Arctic glaciers. Climate change affects us all. In the past, what happened in one country would only affect that economy, that society. No longer. We must recognize that there is no other option than taking immediate and significant action to address climate change,” Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“In Finland, domestic combusting is one of the sources of black carbon. There is also still widespread practice of open burning of solid waste, which is a source of health risks and black carbon. There are technical solutions: wind, biomass, residues from the wood processing industry, LNG, small nuclear reactors,” Jaakko Henttonen, Special Adviser, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Finland.
A lack of effective funding mechanisms for green technology
“Partnerships are not just about governments they are also about protecting people. They are about the people that we try and serve, providing clean water and environment. And we have to listen to the voice of industry as well. The partnerships between all these different stakeholders is a vitally important part of the work that we have to do. I will put it to you that some of the specific challenges relating to black carbon are technically relatively easy to solve. It is not a difficult technology to produce energy in a cleaner fashion. What really is the problem is finance,” Alistair Clark, Managing Director of the Environment and Sustainability Department, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Government incentives to help companies transition to environmentally friendly technology
“Large Russian companies are transitioning to a new environmental regulatory system. <…> This move to a system to implement the best available technology will come with more incentives and less red tape. <…> In 2019, environmental restructuring work began at 300 large Russian companies. These were the biggest polluters, and 20 of them are based in the Arctic,” Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.
“We need to reduce our greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions more than planned. In Finland, we have our national climate act, which states that our emissions need to go down by at least 80%,” Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Finland; Chair of the Northern Forum (2001–2005).
“Norway aims to address challenges in a safe and environmentally sound way. We will publish an action plan for green shipping later this year. The Norwegian maritime industry is at the forefront of using new technology and adopting new environmentally friendly solutions,” Roy Angelvik, State Secretary for the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries of the Kingdom of Norway.
Coordinated international efforts to tackle environmental problems
“In Finland we are very ready to cooperate in seeking solutions for waste treatment and waste problems with best technology and best expertise. Finland and Russia already actively cooperate in the Arctic Council to reduce emissions of black carbon and protect our valuable environment in the Arctic territories,” Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Finland; Chair of the Northern Forum (2001–2005).
“We know the way forward: we have the Paris Agreement, that remains the world’s response to – and is the single most effective vehicle for – collectively addressing climate change. And with the Katowice climate package, now nations have the ability to unleash the power of the Paris Agreement. That is also why I welcome this Arctic Forum here today in St. Petersburg. We must commit to the Paris Agreement and significantly increase climate ambition by 2020.” Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“On fighting climate change and protecting the environment, this has to be addressed globally, and therefore the implementation of the Paris Agreement is absolutely key. Here in St. Petersburg we have co-financed with Russia the water waste management system of the city, but we are also now addressing pilot projects on black carbon. <…> You can only have solutions when you work together,” Marie-Anne Coninsx, Ambassador at Large for the Arctic, European External Action Service.
“It was not long ago that total emissions from vessels in St. Petersburg accounted for more than 10% of all emission sources in the city. However, with the help of international efforts which formed part of the MARPOL programme, we were able to improve the situation with regards air pollution. The programme to reduce the sulphur content in ship fuel led to a 60% improvement in air quality,” Ivan Serebritsky, Deputy Chairman, Committee for Natural Resource Management, Environmental Protection and Ecological Safety of St. Petersburg.
Combining the efforts of government, business, and society to help protect the environment
“We have the solutions that can be adopted and replicated. The important thing is that these kinds of societal transitions do not happen by themselves. We do need the partnerships – the combination of efforts from both societal regulators, and from entrepreneurs,” Mikael Hildén, Chair of Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane, Arctic Council; Director of Climate Change Programme, Finnish Environment Institute.
“We finance small and medium-sized projects with high demonstration value. We are one of the implementing agencies of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership. We have also been financing LNG on the Baltic Sea. Our main purpose is to address the black carbon projects,” Magnus Rystedt, Managing Director, Nordic Environment Finance Corporation.
“The technology and solutions are there. Now it is only a question of political will, political decisions, resourcing, and actions. In the Murmansk area, in cooperation with the government of Kovdor, the recommended solution would be to build a new biomass plant equipped with modern flue gas cleaning systems to reduce black carbon emissions,” Arto Raety, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications, Fortum Corporation.
Using green technology in transport and energy
“A project which sets out plans for a new environmental class of hybrid vessels should result in a reduction of harmful transport emissions. This will also be achieved in part by promoting a green shipping programme for the Arctic and using LNG fuel, for example,” Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.
“There are a lot of untapped renewable energy sources in all Arctic countries. Over the last few years, investments in clean tech solutions have increased significantly and rapidly worldwide. There is huge potential to utilize our wind, forest biomass, geothermal, hydro, and marine power resources,” Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Finland; Chair of the Northern Forum (2001–2005).
“A programme to switch to biofuel in the public energy sector is in place. Year after year, we have been constructing boilers which operate on lumber waste. We do not use coal, and are halting the use of diesel fuel across large parts of our region. In March, Arkhangelsk Region and Rostec Corporation signed an agreement to construct an LNG plant with a capacity of 120,000 tonnes per year. This work in the field of LNG will benefit a huge number of regions. <…> RUB 14 billion is being invested in total,” Lev Levit, Representative of the Governor of Arkhangelsk Region for the Development of the Arctic.
“The role of shipping emissions is only 2.2–2.5% of global emissions. But of course, we need solutions. I will bring you up to date on some of the Finnish solutions in terms of reducing shipping emissions. The first one is a rotor sail system, which is installed in a vessel and can reduce fuel consumption, based on the wind conditions, by 5–20%. The second important initiative is the use of electric ferries,” Tero Vauraste, Chairman, Arctic Economic Council; President, Mariadi Oy.