EU Pushing for Oil, Coal and Gas to Stay in the Ground

On Wednesday, Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs presented the EU's new Arctic strategy. (Photo: North Norway European Office)  

The European Commission argues that oil, gas, and coal should not be extracted in the Arctic if the climate goals are to be met, in addition to its representing a risk for environmental pollution in vulnerable areas, and calls for an international moratorium on hydrocarbon extraction in the Arctic.

“The Arctic region is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet. The melting of ice and thawing of permafrost in the Arctic further accelerate climate change and have huge knock-on effects. The EU is committed to making the Arctic safe, stable, sustainable, and prosperous. Safe and stable through enhanced international cooperation; sustainable and prosperous by ensuring a strong link between the EU's Arctic engagement and our climate policy, the European Green Deal and its blue economy dimension”, said Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.

Prior to the UN Climate Change Conference and in support of global climate action, the Commission calls for oil, coal, and gas to remain in the ground.

“The Arctic is changing rapidly, owing to the impact of global warming, increased competition for natural resources, and geopolitical rivalries. These developments show that Europe must define its geopolitical interests broadly to promote stability, safety, and peaceful cooperation in the Arctic", said Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice-President of the European Commission.

The EU will further strengthen its Arctic engagement with key targets:

  • Contribute to a peaceful and constructive dialogue and international cooperation, to keep the Arctic safe and stable, by raising Arctic matters in its external contacts, intensifying regional cooperation and monitoring and anticipating emerging security challenges. 
  • Take strong action to tackle the ecological, social, economic and political impact of climate change and environmental degradation. Make the Arctic more resilient, by environmental legislation, concerted action against black carbon and permafrost thaw, and by pushing for oil, coal and gas to stay in the ground, including in Arctic regions.
  • Support a comprehensive, inclusive and sustainable development of the Arctic regions to the benefit of its current inhabitants and future generations, with a particular emphasis on the needs of indigenous peoples, women and the young, and investing in future-orientated jobs, including in the blue economy.

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