40 percent of the mineral area is covered by vulnerable nature – NRK Norway – Overview of news from different parts of the country
Work and money in the treasury. Technology such as wind turbines, solar panels and batteries. All this we hope that the minerals can give us.
Maybe there is a new industrial adventure hiding here. With raw materials such as copper, sink, cobalt, lithium, silver and gold.
The vulnerable sea areas
In September, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy approved the program for the impact assessment for mineral extraction on the seabed.
The government wants to know if it is possible to do this in an environmentally sound manner. An area that corresponds to one and a half times Norway’s mainland area is to be studied:
At the same time, 70 researchers from eight different institutions have created one report. It proposes to expand the areas that are currently considered “particularly valuable and vulnerable” (SVO).
These areas are part of the state planer for how the sea should be used in a sustainable way.
Particularly valuable and vulnerable sea areas have significant ecological significance and biodiversity. They are not protected, but there are areas where special care must be taken.
40 percent overlap
40 percent of the mineral area is covered by sea, which researchers believe is particularly valuable and vulnerable, confirms the Institute of Marine Research (HI).
The areas that are today considered SVO are far less extensive.
Any extensions of the vulnerable areas will only be done in connection with and updating of the plans for the sea areas in 2024.
Until then, a lot of work remains. More reports need to be written. Among other things, about how human activity will affect the sea areas.
To be considered in production
– What does the government think about the marine scientists Do you want to define even more of the mineral area as particularly valuable and vulnerable?
– Consideration for the environment and other users is important in any exploration and extraction of minerals. The impact assessment will contribute to comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge. The report from the Institute of Marine Research is not based on any knowledge other than that which will be included in the opening process.
This is what Ole Berthelsen, head of communications at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, tells NRK.
Protested against mineral plan
During an extensive round of consultations, a number of warnings came from researchers and environmental authorities: We know far too little about the deep sea to say anything about the consequences of mineral extraction within the short deadline of one and a half years.
– How does this agree with researchers who still believe there is enough knowledge to define the same areas as particularly valuable and vulnerable?
-There is a good professional basis for the SVO. We know a lot about the ecosystems in the water masses here, especially the upper 500 meters, says Geir Huse at the Institute of Marine Research.
The Norwegian Sea is the core area for the small crayfish redfish. It is an essential food for herring, mackerel, cod, saithe and haddock. Whales and seabirds also find their food here.
What scientists know too little about is the species at the bottom and the connection between upper and lower water masses.
– It is difficult to say anything about how the ecosystems will affect her, when we know so little about the deep sea. Therefore, it is very important that the SVOs are used as a basis in the further development, when considering mineral extraction.
When the climate crashes with nature
Frode Alfheim is the leader of the LO union Industri Energi. He believes that Norway is well equipped to engage in mineral extraction that is far more sustainable than elsewhere in the world.
– Norway must take its responsibility for the climate through strict environmental requirements that Norwegian information can and must set. This is important because it will create jobs, contribute to the green shift and ensure lower emissions in production.
Men WWF World Wide Fund for Nature does not intend to make anything easier for politicians.
– A key in the green shift is to create a circular economy. We need to take better care of the minerals we already use. If we manage this, it is not so certain that we will need new minerals from the sea, argues marine biologist at WWF, Fredrik Myhre.
Myhre believes that there is not necessarily anything green about digging in the seabed:
– In addition to containing completely unique nature, the seabed is the world’s largest carbon storage. Research indicates that swirling carbon from sediments helps with ocean acidification. And more acid has made the ocean worse at absorbing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
WWF believes the opening process must be stopped by the new government intake we know more about the nature of and functions of the deep sea.