Destruction of Nature in the Name of Climate Action – That Won’t Fly!

Arctic Angel Krista shares her perspective on the legal discourse around the Norwegian Parliament's vote to approve deep seabed mining.

Although I am happy that we are working on the needed green transition, I am disappointed that it is used as an argument for unfair and destructive actions. In this case we can talk about deep seabed mining, which Norway has now taken a step towards.

Listening to the discussion in the European Parliament this week, I noted that in addition to arguing with green transition, there are also arguments using examples of colonising mining activities that have taken place in the past and that are still occurring today. It is absolutely correct that those are horrible examples of our actions and systems we have to dismantle. But having done or currently doing something wrong does not mean the solution is to keep doing wrong.

Exploiting the planet and people on it is not the way.

Research carried out by WWF shows that solutions of circular economy, advanced technologies and recycling could decrease the demand of minerals by 58% between 2022 and 2050. Why take more than we need?

What should especially be taken into account is the fact that there is not enough research-based information on the consequences of seabed mining activities. In other words, we cannot anticipate them. If something should happen, the deep sea is not the easiest place for damage control. Researchers, however, have warned about destructive effects of deep seabed mining on marine ecosystems and that we do not have enough knowledge on the effects on carbon sinks.

One cannot claim to fight for the climate and then offer solutions that harm the nature. Climate and nature questions go hand in hand – we must fight for both of them at the same time.

The discussion will continue and the European Parliament will vote on its position on the issue in February 2024. The parliament has previously called for a moratorium on deep seabed mining and the European Commission has advocated for prohibiting it until the scientific gaps are properly filled.

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