Action Plan on Climate Change for the Barents Co-operation
The Action Plan on Climate Change for the Barents Co-operation was endorsed at the meeting of the Finnish, Norwegian, Russian and Swedish Foreign Ministers in October 2013 and adopted by the Barents Environment Ministers in December 2013. Norway led the work for the preparation of the Action Plan with input from the consulting company Carbon Limits. The Plan contains concrete activities to be realized by the working groups under the Barents Euro-Arctic and Regional Councils. The activities contribute to the following main policy areas: mitigation, adaptation, research and outreach.
Implementation of the Action Plan on Climate Change
Implementation of the Action Plan on Climate Change for Barents Co-operation is one of the priorities of Finnish BEAC chairmanship in 2014-15. The International Barents Secretariat follows the implementation of the Action Plan and updates information below.
Regional Climate Strategies for the Barents region
Regional climate change strategies are tools to mitigate and adapt to climate change. They can serve to consolidate the efforts of different stakeholders in the public and private sectors and help in achieving national and international goals. Regional climate change strategies have already been established in many parts of the Barents region. Climate Smart project under the BEAC Working Group on Environment conducted a survey and organized a workshop in autumn 2014 to share the experiences from the strategy work between the regions that already have established a strategy with the regions that are currently starting to outline their strategies. The results of the project are available here: www.climatesmart.fi.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry of Arkhangelsk region is leading the strategy work in the Russian part of the Barents region and has formed an inter-regional working group on the issue. Information on events organized by the region can be found from the links below:
Climate change session in Arkhangelsk, December 2014: Minutes | Presentations
Round table on climate strategies in Arkhangelsk, April 2014 (in Russian only)
Inventories of Emissions
Reduction of emissions of short lived climate pollutants (black carbon, methane and others) may contribute effectively to reducing the rate of climate change in the Arctic, also in the short-term. The Action Plan on Climate Change recommends Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden to make an inventory of short-lived climate pollutants within their territories in the Barents region.
Black carbon, which is a component of soot, originates from non-complete combustion. It is not a greenhouse gas but has a significant warming potential via sunlight absorbtion. In addition to climate effect, it worsens the air quality and has significant implications for human health. Residential biomass combustion, diesel vehicles and shipping are the main sources of black carbon.
The inventories Norway and Finland have produced as part of the implementation of the Action Plan show that, for Norway, 8 % from the black carbon emissions of the whole country come from the counties that are in the Barents region, for Finland – 12 %. Swedish in currently working to develop their black carbon inventory methodology further. Russian emission inventories are planned to be included in the development work of the regional climate change strategies.
The Norwegian Environment Agency has produced a report on black carbon and methane in the Barents region. The report includes not only information on emissions but also a calculation of the climate effects and, moreover, suggestions to reduce that effect. The report also provides methodological guidance for conducting of the inventories in regional level.
Higher Educational Institutions in the Barents Region
The Joint Working Group on Education and Research conducted a survey in autumn 2014 among its member universities. Active research, teaching and awareness raising activities in going on in the universities. More coordination and joint projects between the universities with the other working groups under BEAC is recalled by the group. The results of the survey can be found here.
Working Group on Economic Co-operation
The Working Group on Economic Co-operation highlights that the regional co-operation can contribute to minimizing the negative effects of climate change. The working group plans to organize a Cleantech summit in 2015 to highlight sustainability aspects of mining in the Arctic and issues concerning cleantech. In September, the Barents Forest Sector Network under the Working Group on Economic Co-operation organised a Forest Forum on sustainable use of forests, including climate aspects. Read more about the Forest Forum here.
The climate change and land-use pressures from new economic activities have profound effects on the traditional livelihoods of the northern indigenous peoples. The Association of World Reindeer Herders, an observer to the Barents Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, has conducted a project called EALLIN – Reindeer Herding Youth under the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group. Climate change was one of the main themes discussed with regards of the future of the reindeer herding. The final report of the projects is published in 2015. A new project proposal including elements like climate change, food culture and health of the youth has been submitted to the Arctic Council. WGIP follows closely the development of these projects.
Climate change in Lapland’s nature – what can we do? is an exhibition produced by the Lapland Regional Museum. It raises awareness about climate change and its effect on biodiversity and ecological balance in northernmost Europe. The Russian-English version of the exhibition, produced under Barents co-operation, will start its tour in Saint Petersburg on February 10, 2015. Next stops will be in the Barents region: in Karelia and in Murmansk. A web version of the exhibition is under production.