Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Politico reports that Finland’s Ship Building Industry is experiencing a bumper year, as Paris Climate Agreement signatories celebrate the new global environmental accord, by massively ramping up oil and gas exploration and mining in the Arctic.
Finland finds global warming’s upside
The country’s icebreaker business is booming as the shrinking ice cap opens up new opportunities.
HELSINKI — The Arctic is melting at an unprecedented rate, and that’s good news for Finland, the world’s leading supplier of icebreakers.
“You would think we don’t need icebreakers anymore because of the melting ice,” said Stefan Lindström, counselor at the Finnish foreign ministry’s North America unit. “But it’s actually the opposite.”
Ice levels fell to record lows this winter. Some Arctic monitoring stations recorded temperatures that were as much as 9 degrees Celsius above normal. And this year’s maximum ice cover was even less than in 2015, which was also a record-breaking year.
That’s bad news for polar bears and people living on low-lying islands, but the shrinking ice cap is also opening up new opportunities in this Nordic country. Offshore oil and gas drillers, especially from Russia, crude and LNG tankers, cargo ships, research scientists and militaries are pushing north because it’s more accessible due to the melting ice. They all still need icebreakers.
Aker Arctic saw its revenues jump 40 percent last year to €14 million after it helped design ice breaking vessels that can carry liquefied natural gas, a technology that will be applied to 15 upcoming vessels. The fleet will service Russia’s $27 billion Yamal Peninsula project, meant to produce 16.5 million tons of LNG per year at full capacity.
If this rise in activity is because of the Paris Agreement, imagine the boost to the Artic Petroleum Industry which the next climate agreement will provide.