The North Pole and its surroundings are melting rapidly. However, like that of other countries, Finland’s relationship to the catastrophe is conflicted.
We try to fight global warming with, for instance, climate treaties that restrict the use of fossil fuels. On the other hand, the opening of the Northern Sea Route and the underwater oil and gas fields that are freed from the polar ice are viewed as business opportunities.
“The same conflict is everywhere. Many countries try to stop climate change but allow, for instance, the drilling of oil in their own sea areas,” says Research Professor Timo Koivurova from the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland.
Finnish Ambassador for the Arctic Hannu Halinen of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland points out that countries are in any case going to seize the business opportunities opening in the North. With regard to its arctic strategy, Finland emphasises that such activity should be controlled and that it should also take into consideration environmental protection.
“When you’re operating in uncharted territory, you need to establish rules through international cooperation. In addition, maintaining stability is of paramount importance because without it, there would be no base for economic activity,” says Halinen.
Halinen and Koivurova present their views on 28 September in an impressive environmental forum held in the University’s Main Building, which weighs in on the conflict between protecting and exploiting the Arctic.
Pachauri of the IPCC as the main speaker
The opening speech of the conference shall be given by Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). On the day before, he shall speak at the release of the physical science section of the IPCC’s eagerly awaited fifth report in Stockholm.
How did we manage to get an international scientific celebrity to Helsinki at such an opportune moment? “Our cooperation with the Oxford Climate Forum must’ve helped,” says Tom Henriksson, coordinator of the Helsinki Climate Forum. “Moreover, Helsinki is logistically speaking close to Stockholm, and a member of our team wrote him an excellent letter of invitation.”
Helsinki Climate Forum: Arctic Urgency has been entirely organised by students. All 30 of the organisers are active in the Student Union Committee for Environmental Affairs at the University. Their ideological backgrounds range from green to left to right.