Issue 1/2012

Arctic Fisheries and International Law: Gaps and Options to Address
Erik J. Molenaar
Global climate change has led to decreasing sea-ice coverage in the marine Arctic. This may facilitate an intensification of fishing in existing fishing areas as well as a fisheries expansion into new areas. This article provides an overview of the current international law relating to Arctic fisheries, identifies gaps therein that have become apparent due to climate change, and examines potential options to address some of these gaps. Particular attention is devoted to potential options for the international regulation of Arctic Ocean fisheries, whether through the Arctic Council, the Arctic Council System or by means of a stand-alone negotiation-process culminating in a stand-alone instrument on the (Central) Arctic Ocean.
Creating Arctic Carbon Lock-In: Case Study of New Oil Development in the South Kara Sea
Roman Sidortsov
The overarching goal of this paper is to highlight the importance of considering the climate change implications of oil development in the Arctic. The current global climate change regime lacks universal emissions controls, thereby creating an opportunity for “carbon leakage.” Fossil fuels, no matter where extracted, find their way to countries that are not subject to mandatory emissions reductions. The recent rush to explore vast hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic may significantly contribute to the existing carbon lock-in. To illustrate the dangers of the Arctic carbon lock-in, this paper explores the development of new oil production capacity in the South Kara Sea in Russia.
Less Ice, More Talk: The Benefits and Burdens for Arctic Communities of Consultations Concerning Development Activities
Henry Huntington, Jimmy Stotts, Andrew Hartsig
The Arctic Ocean is rapidly losing summer sea ice, opening opportunities for economic development such as commercial shipping, mining, and oil and gas development. These activities entail the risk of cultural, social, and environmental impacts. In the United States and Canada, consultation processes have developed to give local residents a voice in assessing potential impacts and consequent decisions concerning development activities. In Greenland, consultation procedures are being developed as part of a larger environmental impact assessment system. The experience from Alaska and Canada shows that management decisions that incorporate a consultation process are preferable to decisions being made elsewhere with little or no local input. At the same time, current U.S. and Canadian consultation processes require a great deal of time and effort, and the influence of local input on final decisions is often unclear. We review examples from Alaska, the Northwest Territories, and Greenland, and find that two assessments are warranted. First, the burdens of consultation on local communities should be evaluated. Second, the degree to which local input influences final decisions should be examined, in part to determine whether the effort expended is worthwhile. In both cases, a key result of the assessment should be recommendations for improved practices to make clear how local input is used.
Reducing Air Pollution from Marine Vessels to Mitigate Arctic Warming: Is it Time to Target Black Carbon?
Laura Boone
The effects of climate change are being felt all over the world, resulting in flooding, sea level rise, changing rainfall patterns, temperature increases and so on, and this impact is considered to be twice as strong in the Arctic. When assessing current mitigating efforts and their preliminary results, scientists point out that the 2 °C target will not be met, let alone the more stringent target of 1.5°C. There is a clear need for a new binding, more stringent global climate agreement, but that takes time, time which we do not have. Particularly for the Arctic, fast action is urgently needed and could possibly be achieved by targeting black carbon, a short-lived climate forcer with a possibly great potential to slow down climate change. This paper will discuss, in short, the current scientific knowledge on black carbon, with a particular focus on the Arctic. Pointing to shipping as one of the large contributors, this article will address current efforts within the International Maritime Organization to deal with black carbon.
Regulation of Climate Matters in Greenland
Per Vestergaard Pedersen
Greenland is an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Denmark, which comprises Denmark proper, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. After a guiding referendum in Greenland and approval by the Greenland Parliament, a Danish Act formally established the Greenland Self-Government on 21 June 2009. For most areas of legislation and government, the Act either transferred or provided for the transfer of the legislative power from the Danish Parliament to the Greenland Parliament and of the executive power from the Government of Denmark to the Government of Greenland. The Greenland Self-Government has the legislative and executive powers in many areas, including those of mineral resources (oil, gas and minerals) and of climate matters. This article describes the regulation of mineral resource activities and related climate matters in Greenland. It then discusses the Greenland Self-Government’s competence in relation to negotiation and conclusion of international climate agreements as well as self-governing territories’ general right to do so. Finally, it considers the Greenland Self-Government’s climate and emission mitigation commitments for 2008–2012 and thereafter.
The Legal and Regulatory Issues Associated with Carbon Capture and Storage in Arctic States
Nigel Bankes
This article offers a survey of the legal and regulatory issues associated with carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the eight Arctic states. It comprises five parts, offering some introductory notes, a very brief insight into CCS, assessing each jurisdiction in terms of sources and sequestration geology and current or proposed CCS projects, providing an account of relevant rules, and finishing with brief conclusions. Because CCS is a costly technology, and, moreover, can only be implemented where there are large point-source final emitters and favorable storage geology, CCS projects in Arctic states will cluster around a limited number of industrial locations which will include oil and gas production facilities and large mining and mineral processing facilities that also have suitable storage targets close at hand. In addition to suitable emissions sources and geological targets and appropriate economic incentives, proponents of CCS projects and the public also need the assurance of an appropriate legal and regulatory regime. Such regimes have been slow to develop in Arctic states, although adoption of the European Union’s CCS Directive and the need for its transposition in the EU Member States and possibly in the EEA states has arguably created some momentum.


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