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Prepare the Nordic Region for climate change

02.07.14 | Uutinen
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Johannes Jansson/norden.org
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries have been, and will continue to be, important livelihoods for people in the Nordic countries as long as the sectors are able to adapt to the new climate conditions. This is shown in a new and comprehensive report from the Nordic Council of Ministers which was presented at the Nordic Council’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee's summer meeting in Lofoten earlier in the week. The report contains a number of concrete political recommendations.

The average global temperature will rise this century between 1.4oC and 4.8oC. The temperature rise in the northernmost parts of the Nordic Region will be twice as high as the global average, subject to the fact that a weakened circulation from the Gulf Stream could pull in another direction along the coasts.  The forests will be able to bind more carbon, but without action, emissions from agriculture could grow. Both on land and at sea the primary production will move geographically and the growth session will be extended.

New stress factors will occur as pests and extreme winds and precipitation, and this will require more robust systems to maintain stable production.

"The challenge for industry is three-fold; to reduce its climate footprint, to adapt to the new climatic conditions in a cost-effective way, and to preserve a sustainable resource base. The political challenge is to create conditions for targeted research, the right incentives for industry and to develop administration and control in line with the new production conditions and demands to reduce emissions of climate gases from the various sectors", says Jørgen E. Olesen, Professor at Aarhus University, who has led the Nordic Council of Ministers work and presented the report at the meeting.

"The report reveals that it is this is a complex challenge that cannot be solved by market forces alone.  The experts have made their assessment and now it is the politicians' responsibility to evaluate what is the appropriate way to follow up on the many well-documented recommendations.   Some can best be followed up through Nordic co-operation, but other initiatives must be worked out nationally or through European co-operation", says Steen Gade, member of the Nordic Council’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the committee's climate rapporteur.

"There is much to indicate that if we can put it on the right political track, we can turn the development to a green based economy with many advantages", concludes Gade.

"The report states that it is possible through continuous research and innovation to strengthen sustainability in the Nordic primary industries, and thus adapt the industries to the new conditions and exploit the changes to a comparative advantage.   Prerequisite for success are smart political decisions, new forms for administration and partnership between the main players", said Christina Gestrin, chair of the committee.

The committee calls for the Nordic Council of Ministers to give an account at the Session in Stockholm in October on how it can best follow up on the recommendations.