Drilling activities pose high risk for Arctic: NGO

ANKARA 

Norway's decision to provide more tax relief to its oil sector, which means further support for fossil fuels and continued exploration in the Barents Sea, will pose a higher risk for the sensitive Arctic region, according to experts.

On June 8, Norway’s parliament agreed on additional tax breaks for the oil industry as part of a COVID-19 recovery package, and the parliamentary Finance Committee's recommendation to the Parliament was passed amid objections from environmentalists and NGOs, as it "undermines Norway's reputation as a leader in sustainability," according to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

On the occasion of the controversial decision, Karoline Andaur, CEO of WWF Norway, and Jan Dusik, lead specialist on sustainable development for WWF’s Arctic Program, spoke to Anadolu Agency on the move and its possible effects on the Arctic environment.

Noting that through this move, Norway is taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis like Brazil and the US, Andaur stressed that the recovery package -- "pushed by the oil and gas sector" due to unstable oil prices -- will further lock the country into a risky fossil fuel economy.

"We have also seen that important environmental issues have drowned in the noise due to the corona crisis. Politicians see their chance to weaken environmental legislation that – in normal conditions – would not go unnoticed. COVID-19 will not be the last crisis they have to act on without losing sight of our time’s most important crisis to resolve – ....

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