Protecting the Arctic - Environmental Audit Committee Contents

3  The risks to the Arctic from increased development

56. The combined effects of global resource depletion, climate change and technological progress mean that "the natural resource base of the Arctic—fisheries, minerals and oil and gas—is now increasingly significant and commercially viable".[217] Lloyd's and Chatham House estimated that investment in the Arctic could potentially reach $100 billion or more over the next ten years.[218] The Norwegian Government estimated that some $250 billion of minerals could be found in its Arctic territory.[219] The United States Geological Survey has estimated that the Arctic has 30% of the world's global undiscovered gas and 13% of the world's global undiscovered oil (Figure 2, page 28).[220] In general, the Russian Arctic is considered to be more gas-rich and the offshore Norwegian, American and Greenland 'Arctics' more oil-rich.[221] Over 80% of these undiscovered reserves were expected to be offshore,[222] most on the near-shore continental shelves of the Arctic states.[223] As Dr Sommerkorn from WWF observed, there was irony in Arctic oil and gas being increasingly available because of the climate change effects of burning fossil fuels.[224]

57. The extent of future development will depend on a range of factors, including global commodity prices, investors' perceptions of risk and governments' support for new industries, as well as on any environmental protections made for the Arctic.[225] The Brookings Institution thought that a "developing gas glut, with shale [gas] reserves cheaper to extract and much nearer to important markets" may hamper "aggressive development" of Arctic oil and gas.[226] Economic opportunities in the Arctic might also be dependent upon replacing existing buildings, roads, pipelines, airports and industrial facilities that are likely to be destabilised by melting permafrost.[227]

58. Nevertheless, a number of Arctic States have recognised possible economic opportunities in the Arctic and have adopted strategies to help exploit these. The Norwegian Government believes that the Arctic offers the opportunity for future economic growth and employment for the whole country. It predicts that the Barents Sea is likely to become an important European 'energy province' and that it will "develop closer cooperation with Russia" in pursuit of this.[228] Large parts of the Norwegian offshore and supply industry have been building up expertise and making strategic investments in anticipation of future Arctic oil and gas development.[229] Russia's gas exports are "a major feature of its geopolitical role in Europe, while expanding oil and gas exports to China has become an important policy objective for the Russian government".[230] The EU had also recently signed an agreement with the Greenland Government to improve EU industry's access to raw materials, in light of Greenland's 2009 mineral strategy which focused on establishing Greenland as an attractive exploration area.[231] We explore whether the UK should develop an Arctic strategy and what its objectives should be in Part 4.

Oil and gas exploration

59. Oil and gas operations in the Arctic are not new.[232] Onshore production started in the 1920s and offshore in the 1970s.[233] More than 400 oil and gas fields have been discovered in the Arctic Circle, accounting for almost 10% of the world's known conventional oil and gas resources.[234]

60. During the course of our inquiry we sought the views of UK oil companies operating in the Arctic. BP has many interests in the Arctic, including Prudhoe Bay—America's largest oil field—and other fields on the North Slope of Alaska. BP is the largest exploration acreage holder in the Canadian Beaufort Sea and TNK-BP (of which BP owns 50%) are developing several large projects in the Yamal Peninsula area in Russia.[235] BP asked not to participate in our inquiry because of continuing US legal proceedings after the Macondo oil spill, but both Cairn and Shell provided evidence. Cairn has been operating in Greenland since 2007 and had drilled eight exploratory wells in Baffin Bay (west of Greenland),[236] but was not drilling in 2012 and the timing of "the next stage of drilling will be dependent on the results of a comprehensive data analysis, as well as the availability of rigs and equipment".[237] Shell has offshore exploration licences in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska. It reportedly began drilling a 'pilot hole' in the Chukchi Sea in September 2012 whilst awaiting full regulatory approval for deeper drilling.[238] It also holds two exploration blocks in Baffin Bay off Greenland, and planned to carry out seismic tests during 2012. Shell is a partner in the Sakhalin-2 project, a large integrated oil and gas project in the far east of sub-Arctic Russia.[239]

Figure 2: Oil and gas in the Arctic

61. But such oil and gas exploration is being undertaken against a scenario where global emissions of greenhouse gasses need to be reduced by at least 50% by 2050, with peaking of global emissions by 2020,[240] to have around a 50% chance of avoiding dangerous climate change[241] (with the UK contribution being an 80% reduction below 1990 levels).[242] Cuts of this scale would limit expectations of global temperature rises by 2100 to as close to 2°C as possible (and the risk of extremely dangerous climate change—i.e. 4°C—to very low levels).[243] Shane Tomlinson from E3G told us that as at 2009, there was already more than enough proven oil reserves that if burnt unabated would push global warming beyond 2°C.[244] Given this situation, Rod Downie from WWF called "rushing" into the Arctic for oil "simply absurd".[245] Greenpeace and E3G believed that it illustrated "our current blindness to the risks of climate change",[246] and concluded that the energy scenarios referred to by oil companies to support further exploration in harder-to-reach areas would result in global warming of 6°C.[247]

62. In our report on a Green Economy[248] we explored the concept of a 'carbon bubble' developing whereby investment in fossil fuels continues in spite of statutory UK targets to limit the emissions that would result from such investment.[249] Cairn and Shell recognised the role of the price of carbon and the EU Emissions Trading System as a way of limiting emissions, but did not acknowledge a 'carbon bubble' affecting their businesses.[250] Robert Blaauw of Shell told us that "as conventional resources run out, you will be focusing on the unconventional resources but also in different locations, and that is where the Arctic comes in".[251] Richard Heaton from Cairn acknowledged that oil and gas companies existed to extract all the oil and gas that they can find underground: "That is what their business is". He told us that oil was "perhaps the most efficient way to help bridge the gap between the rising energy demand across the world, and other forms of meeting that energy gap".[252] Cairn concluded that "the imperative to find new sources of oil and gas remains urgent".[253] Similarly, Shell believed that a transition to renewable energy "can't happen overnight" and that "hydrocarbons will therefore continue to play an important role in meeting rising energy demands for decades to come".[254] It believed natural gas, as the "cleanest burning fossil fuel", played an important role in building a "more sustainable energy future" as a "bridging fuel".[255]

63. The Government believed that the UK continued to be dependent on access to a "functioning and well-supplied global oil and gas market" and that the Arctic can "contribute to energy security through its large reserves, helping to replace production lost by the decline in output from existing oil and gas fields".[256] The Government had recently signed bilateral agreements with Norway on oil and gas development, which specifically mentioned the Arctic.[257] Norway supplies over a quarter of the UK's primary energy demands, (42% of imported gas and 62% of imported oil in 2011).[258] Chris Barton, Head of International Energy Security at DECC, told us that "we will still need more and new oil and gas production, and the likelihood is that some of that will come from the Arctic", even "if we hit our 2oC target". He acknowledged that "ultimately we are going to need to reduce—if not very largely eliminate—our use of oil but it is not going to happen overnight".[259] The Government had not completed any specific analysis of the impacts of hydrocarbon extraction from the Arctic region on the chances of keeping global temperature rises below 2°C, but was basing its assessment on the International Energy Agency modelling, which showed a range of oil and gas requirements and environmental ambitions.[260] Chris Barton saw the most significant role DECC could play in protecting the Arctic was through its actions on international climate change, including work within the UNFCCC on a legally binding treaty to reduce emissions and reducing fossil fuel subsidies and encouraging low-carbon deployment in individual countries.[261]

64. The rate of oil and gas exploration and extraction will be determined by global oil and gas prices, as well as national and international treaties, regulations and incentives. Offshore oil production is generally more expensive than onshore.[262] Shane Tomlinson of E3G questioned whether higher costs of extracting oil and gas from the Arctic would be economically viable when it would be cheaper to decarbonise our economy.[263] Oil companies primarily respond to market supply and demand. The Government's approach in helping to avoid dangerous climate change is to encourage the UK to reduce consumption, not supply, of fossil fuels, through, for example, electricity market reform and the EU Emissions Trading System. We are concerned that there appears to be a lack of strategic thinking and policy coherence within Government on this issue, illustrated by its failure to demonstrate how future oil and gas extraction from the Arctic can be reconciled to commitments to limit temperature rises to 2°C. The Government should seek to resolve this matter.


65. We identified particular risks of oil and gas extraction in the Arctic, which we discuss below.


66. There are "unavoidable impacts" on ecosystems from each phase of oil and gas development—seismic exploration, exploratory drilling, production platforms, pipelines, offshore and onshore terminals and tankers.[264] Cetaceans are greatly affected by such operations as they use sound to communicate, navigate and feed.[265] In the short-term, further construction of oil and gas facilities could cause habitat loss for cetaceans, disturb feeding or social behaviours and mask the sounds of predators.[266] Greenpeace highlighted the risk from chemicals released into the marine environment from drilling.[267]

67. Robert Blaauw told us that before Shell began work in Alaska, it had done a "long time series of studies" which had been factored into their operations. They "now have a really good holistic view of how the ecosystem in that area of the world works: Some 5,000 studies have been done in the last 30 years and 80% of all these studies are in support of the oil industry, in offshore Alaska".[268] Cairn highlighted that oil and gas companies were "one of the principal funders of research in the Arctic areas they operate". They told us that the Greenland Government had tied license conditions to funding significant ecosystem research.[269] Robert Blaauw told us that Shell's existing operations go to "significant lengths" to ensure that "this unique environment is protected" and that "no harm to people and environment is the guiding principle" in its operations. He told us that Shell design their operations to avoid any interaction with whales because they were "very important for local people in terms of their subsistence way of living". Seismic exploration was stopped when there was a whale nearby. Shell employed "marine mammal observers" on their vessels, drawn from local villages, and used aircraft and underwater drones to monitor whales in the area.[270]

68. There is a risk to ecosystems from oil spills from exploratory drilling, production, pipelines, terminals and tankers.[271] Ruth Davis of Greenpeace told us that an oil spill could linger for decades because oil dissipates more slowly in freezing temperatures and the lack of sunlight inhibits the breakdown of oil which would mean that oil would "get locked up, frozen and then released over long periods of time".[272] Oil was still being found in the Arctic ecosystem 23 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, where populations of sea otter and killer whale had still not recovered.[273] Professor Steiner, who had helped with the response to that disaster, believed that a large oil spill would "undoubtedly cause extensive acute mortality in plankton, fish, birds, and marine mammals ... [and] there would also be significant ... physiological damage, altered feeding behaviour and reproduction, and genetic injury that would reduce the overall viability of populations".[274] Because Arctic animals tended to be concentrated around open areas of water within the ice, a nearby spill could have a "devastating population level effect".[275]

69. We explore the oil companies' plans for responding to spills below.

Oil spill response

70. Arctic conditions exacerbate the risks already associated with oil and gas activities elsewhere. Weather conditions can be particularly difficult: frequent severe storms, fog (at Point Barrow in Alaska fog is present for an average of 12 days a month between May and September),[276] freezing temperatures (in the Alaskan Arctic the average temperature range is between 4oC and -2oC during the summer), icebergs, sea-ice cover for much of the year even in near-shore waters, and few days of daylight during the winter months. [277] 'Icing' is a serious hazard for Arctic shipping, causing "machinery to seize up and making vessels more top-heavy, as well as for coastal infrastructure exposed to sea-spray and storms".[278]

71. Because of these weather conditions, drilling in the Arctic takes place within a limited summer window. This is a requirement of both the Governments of Greenland and the United States for instance.[279] Greenpeace told us that:

    Shell did not willingly reduce its drilling window off Alaska by 38 days this year. Quite the opposite. The decision was taken by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in December [2011] when it gave conditional approval for Shell's plan to drill in the Chukchi Sea … Shell's response has been to challenge the decision because "it essentially takes away one-third of the time we would be able to drill, which means the elimination of one well from our three-well exploration plan. This would have a significant effect." Crucially, the Shell spokesman added, "we believe the restriction is unwarranted".[280]

There were concerns that a spill towards the end of the summer drilling window would mean that there would not be enough time to clean it up before winter. Professor Wadhams told us that:

    If they can't cap the blowout off, or drill a relief well before the winter, the blowout will operate right through the winter months, with oil and gas coming up under the ice ... The oil coats the bottom of the ice, and if the ice is moving, which is often at about 10 kilometres a day, it acts like a great sheet of moving blotting paper, absorbing the oil coming up under it, and carrying it away downstream. You will have a trail of oiled ice floes 1,000 kilometres or more in length covering a whole swathe of the Arctic. The oil disappears into the interior of each floe, because new ice grows underneath it, so you have an 'oil sandwich' which lasts all through the winter. Then the oil rises to the top surface of the ice in the spring and summer and retains its toxicity. By now it is spread thinly around such a huge area that it is very, very difficult to burn it by that stage or get rid of it by mechanical removal.[281]

72. The remoteness of Arctic drilling locations means that infrastructure and capability to manage accidents may be "distant or unavailable".[282] With sparsely populated shorelines and lack of established monitoring, Platform believed it could be a long time before a spill is even noticed by environmental regulators.[283] This was demonstrated by an oil leak from the Trebs Oil Field in the Russian Arctic during April 2012, which was difficult to gauge because of its remoteness.[284] In respect to Shell's drill site in Alaska, Greenpeace believed that the US only had one operational ice-breaker and that the nearest town had limited access and no ability to support large-scale operations.[285] Ruth Davis told us that in winter it would be difficult to track where spilled oil had gone and it would be difficult to work out which country would be responsible for cleaning it up.[286]

Oil spill response techniques

73. Oil companies' spill response plans for the Arctic anticipate using a number of 'conventional techniques' that would also be used elsewhere when responding to an oil spill. There were concerns that such techniques had not been proven sufficiently to work in the Arctic.[287] WWF saw a "technical gap" in how to respond to oil spills in Arctic conditions and in ice-infested waters.[288] Dr Babenko from WWF wanted techniques to be "locally tested, not tested just in other regions".[289]

74. WWF identified significant 'response gaps' for drilling offshore in the Canadian Arctic in terms of the amount of time when no response would be possible due to environmental conditions. For example, they calculated that a spill response in the Beaufort Sea would not be possible for more than 50% of the time between June and September, by October no response would be possible more than 80% of the time and no response at all would be possible from November to May. WWF wanted such oil spill 'response gaps' to be calculated and factored into oil response plans.[290]

75. Peter Velez from Shell told us that a four-year joint Scandinavian governments/oil industry project, led by the Norwegian SINTEF research institute, had tested mechanical equipment, in-situ burning and dispersant application in large-scale field experiments in Svalbard.[291] Pew Environment Group criticised that project, however, for "painting an optimistic picture of the potential applicability of several technologies to Arctic oil spills" and having an "overwhelming emphasis" on "non-mechanical technologies".[292] They had urged caution when "extrapolating results from isolated field trials into expectations for a spill response", because conditions in the test would have been controlled and all equipment would have been immediately to hand.[293] A conference in Fermo in Italy in September 2011 highlighted a past lack of research on Arctic oil spill response techniques,[294] although some research was now underway. The US Government has recently commissioned its National Research Council to look at the scope for Arctic oil spill response improvements.[295] Shell told us that a $20 million oil industry research project had started in May 2011 to examine further technologies for oil spill response.[296]

76. Shell and Cairn emphasised that they would deploy the whole array of available methods at their disposal for oil spill response and choose the most appropriate in the situation encountered.[297] We questioned them on their use of those specific techniques.

77. A 'well head' might suffer damage in the event of a blow-out and a capping system could be used to re-establish control of the well.[298] Before the Macondo well blow-out, no pre-fabricated capping systems existed.[299] Professor Wadhams believed that given the "horror story" that would be experienced if a blow-out lasted over a winter (paragraph 71), the "biggest efforts should be made to design pre-engineering capping systems" so that if a blow-out occurred at the end of the summer, it could be capped off and oil prevented from getting into the ice.[300] Shell told us that it was in the process of building a sub-sea capping system and that it was expected to be ready for the 2012 Alaska drilling season.[301] Shell had planned to test and deploy this system "in open water prior to drilling", but had no plans to test it in icy conditions. Peter Velez told us:

    There are no icy conditions during the season that we are going to be drilling ... The system can be tested, just like any other system and we can prove that it works ... keep in mind that that capping system and containment system goes near the sea floor. There is no ice in 150 feet of water sitting down there or where this equipment goes. So essentially we will have access there if we have to have access, but we will not be drilling during the time that there is ice at the location.[302]

78. A relief well could also help deal with a blow-out by intercepting the sub-surface borewell of the out-of-control well.[303] Although a relief well is not seen as a 'first response option' because of the time it can take to put in place, it is the "most reliable method" of ending a well blow out.[304] Shell told us that in Alaska, drilling a relief well could begin "almost immediately as all of the equipment, including extra pipe, casing and a second blow-out preventer will already be staged on board the drilling rig".[305] It cited a case from 1989 in the North Sea as an example of where the same drilling rig, if not damaged, could itself be used to drill the relief well.[306] Shell was planning to have a rig in both the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, and therefore in the event that one rig was unable to drill a relief well, Shell would move its other rig to assist.[307] As with other response techniques, different Arctic states have different requirements in this area. For instance the National Energy Board in Canada requires oil companies to demonstrate that they have the capability to drill a relief well to 'kill' an out of control well during the same drilling season,[308] but this is not a requirement elsewhere.[309]

79. Cleaning up an oil spill can involve mechanical recovery of the oil using booms or skimmers.[310] Shell believed that Arctic conditions create "differences in evaporation rates, viscosity and weathering" that "provide greater opportunities to recover oil". It stated that recent independent tests in Arctic conditions have shown that ice can aid oil spill response by slowing oil weathering, dampening waves, preventing oil from spreading over large distances, and allowing more time to respond. Shell told us that in Alaska available mechanical recovery assets had "a combined capacity that exceeds the worst case discharge potential of the well we are drilling".[311]

80. Mechanical recovery could not be used in 'pack-ice' conditions and therefore is only viable in the Arctic "for a few months of the year".[312] Cairn's spill response plan concedes that using booms and skimmers would not be effective if ice cover was more than 25%.[313] It includes a proposal that "sections of oiled ice can be cut out and allow the ice to thaw in a heated warehouse and then separating the oil from its water".[314] Greenpeace argued that this demonstrated that industry response plans were "thoroughly inadequate".[315] Richard Heaton from Cairn explained that "we have to have a whole array of methods at our disposal".[316]

81. Insitu-burning usually involves first corralling pooled oil on the surface of water with booms before burning it. It faces many of the same constraints as mechanical recovery, including good weather and visibility because ignition is normally by plane.[317] Greenpeace argued that the environmental side-effects of burning significant amounts of oil in the Arctic were unknown.[318] Shell believed that in-situ burning had "proven a very efficient way to eliminate the vast majority of 'fresh oil': The thicker more concentrated the oil, the better the 'recovery rate'".[319] Research by SINTEF (paragraph 75) had indicated a 90% burn efficiency in conditions with 70-90% ice cover.[320] Shell planned to have igniting systems and booms on-site.[321] Cairn's response plan included the use of in-situ-burning but acknowledged that it was ineffective in waters with over 30% ice-cover.[322] This reflected Pew Environment Group's examination of oil spill response techniques, which found that ice coverage of between 30% and 70% were the most difficult for in-situ burning because in this range containment booms are difficult to deploy.[323] Richard Heaton of Cairn explained that "once you get above 70%, then essentially the ice itself is acting as a very large boom".[324] Pew noted that there was little available data on in-situ burning performance in Arctic waters, so assessments of its utility had been based "primarily on experimental data".[325] To ignite, the oil needs to be a minimum thickness and the more weathered the oil, the greater the thickness needed.[326] Cairn's response plan stated that oil be ignited within 2 to 3 days,[327] although Peter Velez of Shell believed that in the cooler Arctic environment there would be "less evaporation of the oil, less of the volatiles, the lightings, flashing off", giving a window of opportunity to burn the oil of up to 7 days.[328]

82. Dispersants can be used on spilled oil to spread it through the water column.[329] The use of dispersants is also limited by weather and flying conditions.[330] Further research is needed on its eco-toxicological impacts.[331] The Natural Environment Research Council believed that one of the key lessons from the Macondo well incident was that dispersants could cause significant environmental damage.[332] Some studies had shown that dispersed oil might be more toxic than the untreated oil.[333] Greenpeace were concerned that Cairn's response plan "recommended using dispersants near the shore in certain circumstances even though most countries to do not permit this.[334]

83. Platform told us that the use of chemical dispersants is "all but impossible under ice".[335] Peter Velez said that Shell would not apply dispersants under ice, but that they "can be applied in cold weather"[336] and "laboratory and field tests demonstrate that".[337] Low Arctic temperatures can increase the viscosity of oil. Cairn's spill response plan states that dispersant effectiveness "will decrease as the viscosity of oil increases".[338] However, there were "different sorts of dispersants and ... the industry is developing new techniques all the time".[339]

Meeting the cost of clean up

84. A potential risk of oil extraction in the Arctic is that any spill might not be fully cleaned up because of the cost involved. Richard Steiner told us that having a sufficient financial liability scheme in the Arctic for oil and gas drilling would ensure that companies operated as safely and as reliably as possible. He believed that the coastal Arctic states had a "dysfunctional liability regime".[340] Whilst the US had a $75 million liability regime for offshore drilling, after the Macondo spill, BP "stepped up to the plate, did the right thing and excused themselves from the limitations of liability in US law" because they knew that it would be "politically imprudent for them to hide behind" the existing liability regime.[341] The Greenland Government required from any company drilling in its waters a $2 billion bond to cover emergency response.[342]

85. Peter Velez told us that Shell did not estimate the financial cost to the company if a 'worst case' oil spill happened in the Arctic because "we are going to do whatever it takes to clean it up".[343] Richard Heaton told us that Cairn was in a similar position, acknowledging that it was their "responsibility to clean things up".[344] While we welcome that both Shell and Cairn have accepted that they are responsible for cleaning up oil spills, at whatever cost, we are surprised that neither has put a financial estimate on the cost to their business of dealing with a 'worst case' oil spill. On one level that may be a matter for shareholders, but there does need to be public transparency to provide assurance that cost will not be a bar on dealing with the consequences of any spills being fully tackled.

86. The IMO has established a 'Tanker Oil Spill Liability Protocol', but there is no international convention regarding liability for offshore drilling.[345] Whilst noting that recent proposals to extend the IMO mandate beyond shipping to offshore oil drilling was opposed by the UK and US governments, Richard Steiner thought that the UK Government could make representations at the IMO to create one.[346] The Government planned to introduce a liability regime covering UK companies in Antarctica. The Antarctic Bill, currently before Parliament, will require those who fail to make a reasonable, prompt and effective response to an environmental emergency liable for the equivalent costs of such a response. The operator must also secure adequate insurance, or demonstrate other financial guarantees, against the costs of response action.[347] As for the Arctic, we asked Henry Bellingham MP, the then Under Secretary of State, whether the Government would support the principle that UK oil companies should face an unlimited liability from oil spills in that region. He noted that in the UK Continental Shelf oil companies had joint and several unlimited liability for oil spills, but told us that regulating oil companies in the Arctic was "primarily a matter for the sovereign states who have jurisdiction in the Arctic".[348]

Sharing industry best practices

87. When drilling takes place in the Arctic it is important that all companies employ best practices. Richard Steiner advocated the setting up of what he called an 'Arctic offshore petroleum institute', where the industry would work together to set standards and develop an inspection regime to make it "absolutely certain that any offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic Ocean is as safe as reasonably possible".[349] He cited the Institute for Nuclear Power Operators in the US, set up after the Three-Mile Island incident[350], which was industry-run (its board of directors is comprised of the CEOs of each nuclear power company in the United States), and which aimed to complement federal and state government inspections.[351]


88. Four million people live in the Arctic; a mix of indigenous peoples and more recent migrants attracted by the development of natural resources.[352] Arctic communities and indigenous peoples rely on marine ecosystems for an important part of their livelihood, culture and wellbeing[353] and can therefore be highly sensitive to marine pollution, including 'persistent organic pollutants' such as insecticide DDT and the industrial chemical PCB.[354] Although used in small quantities in the region itself, these have accumulated in the Arctic environment by being transported by air and sea currents and rivers and migratory animals. Through their high consumption of marine mammals and fish, some indigenous peoples had levels of pollutants in their bodies which exceeded World Health Organisation limits.[355] An assessment in 2009 found that absorbed levels of these pollutants was now decreasing in many Arctic populations as a result of changes in diet as well as changing levels of environmental contamination.[356]

89. The 1992 Rio Principles established the vital role of indigenous peoples in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices.[357] International Polar Foundation UK highlighted that indigenous peoples of the Arctic wish to be a part of the dialogue when it comes to developing resources on their lands and waters.[358] Platform believed that resource extraction in the Arctic "must be governed by the principle of free, prior, informed consent of indigenous groups, as set out in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples",[359] and that it was important that there was a fair division of economic and political power between indigenous peoples and the wider societies to which they belonged.[360] Aqqaluk Lynge, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, highlighted that having a greater influence on decision-making and law-making, ensuring environmental protection laws and environmental impact assessments processes are adhered to, and being able to speak with a more collective voice could help indigenous people to influence future development and help preserve the environment of the Arctic.[361]

90. Cairn told us that "most Greenlanders support the investment of companies in hydrocarbon and mineral exploration and the opportunities such new business can bring".[362] In Greenland, exploration for offshore hydrocarbons was "widely accepted as a pathway to greater economic prosperity and a guarantee of self-government".[363] Richard Heaton from Cairn told us that its Greenland operations have had a large impact upon the economy of Greenland, with investment and employment engendered in the country adding as much as 25% to the subsidy that comes from the Danish Government.[364] He told us that Cairn engaged "heavily" with the local people, "not just consultation but [for] consent from the local population for what we are doing and how we are doing it".[365] Shell told us that no topics were off-limits during consultation with local people.[366] They stated that the Sakhalin-2 project had reduced unemployment from 20% to 1% in a couple of years.[367] Shell aimed to maximise the number of local people that worked for them, including as marine mammal observers on its vessels and crewing emergency oil spill response teams—so-called 'Village Response Teams'.[368] They also shut down their operation for two weeks to enable local people to carry out their subsistence hunting during the whaling season.[369]

91. Six indigenous peoples' organisations have been granted permanent participant status at the Arctic Council,[370] and some of these organisations are "highly influential" in the domestic politics of Arctic states (which we discuss in Part 4).[371] In its Chairmanship programme for the Arctic Council, Sweden set out to make it a "high priority to listen to the views of indigenous peoples and pursue a clear agenda to actively promote their interests in matters of intergovernmental relevance".[372] The Sustainable Development Working Group of the Council specifically addressed indigenous peoples' perspective and aimed to "pursue initiatives that provide practical knowledge and contribute to building the capacity of indigenous peoples and Arctic communities to respond to the challenges and benefit from the opportunities emerging in the Arctic Region".[373] The Chair of the group told us that there was no "major divergence" between the positions of the indigenous peoples organisations and their national governments in the Working Group, but if such differences arose the issues would be discussed.[374]

92. Platform did not think that the representation of indigenous groups on the Arctic Council guaranteed their informed consent for specific projects".[375] Richard Steiner wanted to see an independent 'Arctic Regional Citizens Advisory Councils', set up by the Arctic Council, with oil industry funding, to engage citizens actively in the oversight of the Arctic oil industry because "the general public is asked to review and comment on an overwhelming stream of technically complex documents, but is outmatched by well-paid industry advocates". Such a model had been used in Sullom Voe in Scotland in 1974 when its oil terminal was being planned. He saw such Councils as an essential prerequisite to any further development.[376] The development of Citizens Advisory Councils to engage citizens in the oversight of the Arctic oil industry should be part of the Government's Strategy for the Arctic (paragraph 155).


93. Richard Heaton from Cairn told us that as "an industry, we are used to dealing with the challenges in the Arctic" and that they were "very, very conscious that we need to [operate] in a prudent and safe way, to take account of all the necessary measures, and work with governments and agencies".[377] Robert Blaauw from Shell told us that "industry has decades of experience in drilling for Arctic oil and gas and producing it, both onshore and offshore: 500 wells have been drilled today offshore without well control incidents".[378] Peter Velez of Shell acknowledged that there were risks with drilling and that procedures and standards were put in place to "essentially eliminate or mitigate the risk". The results of Arctic ecosystem research were factored into plans. He told us that "when we drill in Alaska we are going to have dual blind shear rams on our blow-out preventers; we monitor the wells; we have experienced crews on site … but we are also monitoring these wells from a remote location with a second set of experts on a 24-7 basis".[379] Robert Blaauw from Shell told us that the "likelihood is extremely small that such an incident will happen … in offshore Alaska".[380]

94. Richard Steiner was less sanguine. He told us that "governments and industry traditionally understate risk and overstate their ability to respond to emergency situations, particularly oil spills".[381] Shane Tomlinson from E3G believed that "often risks are downplayed given that they are not seen as immediate threats, whereas the short-term benefits [of economic opportunities] may be overstated".[382] Ruth Davis of Greenpeace told us that the US Minerals Management Service had estimated that there was a "1-in-5 chance of a major oil spill occurring over the lifetime of activity in just one block of leases in the Alaskan Arctic". She also told us that a review of major blowouts worldwide showed that "at least one blow-out has occurred every year since the mid-1970s and there have been 16 in the last decade, two of which have resulted in major spills". She believed that it should be assumed that it is more, rather than less, likely that a blow-out will occur in conditions as challenging as those in the Arctic.[383]

95. The industry used an 'As Low As Reasonably Practicable' standard in its planning. Shell told us that this was based on regulators requiring "companies to continually demonstrate that they are taking measures to minimize the risk of oil and gas releases to 'as low as reasonably practicable'".[384] Richard Steiner told us, however, that there were still things that could be done to lower the risk to 'As Low As Possible', but currently "industry hasn't taken all steps necessary" because getting that "last 10% or 20% of risk out of the equation of drilling is the most expensive".[385] He argued that everything possible should be done to reduce risk to achieve 'As Low as Possible', regardless of cost.[386] He believed that this included using all the best available and safest technology for all components of drilling,[387] or else their drilling should not go ahead at all.


96. Individual Arctic states apply their own regulatory control regimes to activities within their borders, territorial waters and continental shelves. Shell told us that there was a range of approaches for regulating offshore drilling by different countries, ranging from prescriptive requirements to performance-based approaches (which set outcomes and allowed flexibility in how these were met).[388] There were few binding multilateral rules for environmental protection.[389] Dr Babenko of WWF told us that sometimes companies apply "double standards" by only following locally the relevant national regulations.[390] Both Shell and Cairn told us that they pursue the same policies from country to country, and do not seek to be any less robust in one regulatory regime than another.[391]

97. Oil companies are required to plan for the response to an oil leak or spill and assure the national regulatory authorities that their plans are sufficient. Response plans are scrutinised by the relevant jurisdictions' governments and agencies. In Greenland, Cairn's response plan was scrutinised by the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum and the Danish Centre of Energy and Environment.[392] In Alaska, the Bureau of Safety, Environment and Enforcement approved Shell's plan for the Chukchi Sea, but it was also reviewed by a number of other US agencies as well as US courts.[393] Ruth Davis wanted oil spill plans to provide more detail.[394] Greenpeace commissioned a review of Cairn's response plan[395] by Richard Steiner. Overall, his review concluded that the plan was "lacking in its three primary focal areas: spill prevention, well control, and spill response". He found that "[the Plan] is not complete, and does not provide sufficient detail with which to judge the safety of the projects, or the potential effectiveness of an emergency response".[396] Similarly, Professor Wadhams believed Cairn did not have a serious contingency plan and was the sort of "cowboy [company] that want to come in quickly and get out again".[397] A review in 2010 by the Pew Environment Group of oil spill response in the US Arctic Ocean concluded that companies were not adequately prepared for a spill in the Arctic.[398] Both Shell and Cairn told us that they regularly review their spill response plans,[399] to consider whether any new techniques have been developed that effectively could be used to deal with an oil spill.

98. Ruth Davis singled out Russia's regulatory regime as being "particularly challenging".[400] The Norwegian Ambassador told us that Russia had had regulatory frameworks in place on onshore oil activities for a long time, but that they had not had a lot of experience on offshore operations.[401] Russia is one of the world's largest oil producers, but less than 2% of production comes from mature offshore fields.[402] In contrast, for Norway offshore oil and gas was its area of experience and its regulatory framework was "certainly something that we could see as a model for regulating activities in other parts of the [Arctic] as well".[403] The UK Government had not undertaken any review of the Russian regulatory regime.[404] The then Under Secretary of State believed that the UK had a constructive and positive relationship with Russia: "Lecturing and telling the Russians what to do was not the way to go".[405] The UK's influence was mainly through practicing what we preach, "advocacy and a demonstration of the good practice of our companies".[406]

99. Ruth Davis from Greenpeace advocated creating a strong single regulatory regime for the Arctic as a way of ensuring a consistently high level of environmental protection and that the Arctic Council could have a role in that.[407] We put the proposition of a single regulatory regime to both Shell and Cairn. Shell believed that the "Arctic Council has no authority to ensure a consistent regulatory regime".[408] Cairn welcomed the principle of a consistent high standard regulatory regime across the Arctic but told us it was up to Arctic states to decide what role the Arctic Council should play in regulating oil and gas exploration.[409] Chris Barton from DECC told us that he was not aware of any particular drive "to have a single unified approach to regulation".[410] An Arctic Council Task Force was currently developing rules on Arctic marine oil pollution, preparedness and response, which is due for release in 2013. The UK Government had offered to share its expertise with the Task Force,[411] but as an observer state the UK has not been allowed to participate in the taskforce itself because "it is the current Arctic Council policy to exclude observers from contributing to work on legally binding agreements".[412] Richard Steiner told us, however, that previous oil and gas standards put out by the Arctic Council (in 2009) were "so general as to not be useful for anyone".[413]

100. Jane Rumble from the FCO Polar Regions Unit told us that although the Arctic Council was instrumental in "driving up standards across all eight jurisdictions", there was a need for a "softly, softly" approach. She told us that Arctic states were not seeking to agree a common approach, because some countries have very high standards and others less so. She saw the UK supporting an approach of bringing the lowest up, politically and diplomatically.[414]

101. Charles Emmerson from Chatham House told us that it was "extremely unlikely" that a single regulatory framework could be established for oil and gas activities as these were "essentially within the power of the sovereign states themselves" and he could not foresee "Arctic states agreeing to a situation where they felt that their ability to produce or not produce was fundamentally compromised by another state, particularly when it is very economically important to some of those countries". He thought that "specific sets of agreements on particular parts of the problem" were more likely, citing the recently signed agreement on search and rescue and the continuing work towards an agreement on oil spill response.[415]

102. There were calls for the Government to ensure that UK companies follow the same regulations when drilling in the Arctic as they would when drilling in UK waters.[416] It was reported that the UK Government opposed similar proposals for EU-based companies at the EU level.[417] Chris Barton from DECC told us that it was not a matter for the UK Government to set out "if, what and how" oil extraction can happen in the Arctic but for the "countries of jurisdiction". It would not be appropriate for the UK to set out what rules are appropriate for other countries as "we do not have expertise or experience of Arctic issues". However, he thought that British companies had demonstrated that they took environmental considerations extremely seriously as it was in their moral and commercial interests to do so, and he was not aware of "any concerns that these [UK] companies are not operating to the highest standards".[418] The Government expected companies resident in the UK "to set the highest possible standards, after all they benefit from having their quote and their headquarters in the UK".[419] The then Under Secretary of State told us that the Government was "proud of our oil sector".[420]


103. If there is an oil spill in the Arctic, little of the spilt oil is likely to be recovered. Richard Steiner told us that there had never been an effective spill response. He referred to the Macondo incident where only "2% or 3% of what came into the environment was actually collected", with a lot of oil being dispersed or burned.[421] Similarly, the Exxon Valdez incident only collected 6-7% of the spilt oil, and toxic oil was still to be found on beaches 23 years later.[422] Richard Steiner wanted to see a more candid assessment of the volume of oil likely to be recoverable. He believed that oil companies' assertions that they have effective Arctic oil spill response plans "does not pass the red face test".[423]

104. Ruth Davis from Greenpeace believed that the oil industries' 'worst case' spill planning scenarios in the Arctic were not, in fact 'worst case'. She told us that "Cairn outlines a worst case spill scenario of 5,000 barrels a day for 37 days, whereas the Macondo well released around 60,000 barrels a day for 84 days". She argued that if it took the same number of days to cap and contain a spill in the Arctic, it was likely that the spill would still be going on once the Arctic ice began to encroach, meaning that oil would be leaking for more than one season.[424] The Energy and Climate Change Committee's report on UK Deepwater drilling was concerned that "the offshore oil and gas industry is responding to disasters rather than anticipating worst case scenarios and planning for high consequence, low probability events". The report noted:

    As demonstrated by BP's response to the blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, the offshore oil and gas industry was clearly not prepared for a sub-sea blowout of a well. The industry felt that it had mitigated away the risks associated with high-impact, low-probability events and so did not need to plan for them—it needs to revisit scenarios that it thought were too unlikely to occur.[425]

Peter Velez from Shell told us that the Macondo well was different from those being drilled in the Arctic:

    A deepwater well like Deepwater Horizon Macondo is a well that is drilling in 5,000 feet of water down to over 18,000 feet ... [and] take typically 90 days or more to drill ... The wells that we are drilling in the Arctic are 8,000 to 10,000 feet wells, lower pressure [and] much lower mud weights.[426]

He believed Shell had modelled the 'worst case' scenario—a "well control incident"—and that this scenario was set and approved by the US federal government.[427]

105. Chris Barton from DECC told us that the Government had not undertaken a specific risk assessment of any increased risks of drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic "because it is not something that is within our jurisdiction and nor indeed do we have the experience on which to make that judgement".[428] Richard Steiner argued that regardless of the precautions taken:

    … there will still be a significant risk of a major oil spill, and policy makers need to be honest about this. People will make mistakes, and equipment will fail. If we allow oil development to proceed in the Arctic Ocean, it's not a question of 'if' a major spill will occur, but 'when and where'.[429]

106. Drilling is already going ahead in the Arctic and regulatory authorities are approving plans to drill. However, only a small fraction of oil would be recovered in the event of a significant oil spill in the Arctic and it might take decades for wildlife to recover. Given the heightened risks of drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic, discussed above, including a lack of conclusive evidence that oil spill response techniques will work fully effectively in Arctic conditions, we conclude that there should be a moratorium on drilling in the Arctic until:

·  the regulatory regimes of all Arctic states impose the highest available environmental standards, and require the best available and safest technology to be used for all components of drilling (paragraph 95). The risk standard adopted must be 'As Low as Possible' and the Government should work with Arctic states, including through the Arctic Council, to help bring this about.

·  a pan-Arctic oil spill response standard is in place (paragraph 99). The UK Government should seek to persuade the Arctic Council to draw on the expertise of other states in its work to develop such a standard.

·  a much higher, preferably unlimited, financial liability regime for oil and gas operations is in place throughout the Arctic. Such a liability regime should require companies operating there to demonstrate that they have adequate funds, financial guarantees or insurance, to meet the costs of responding to an oil spill (paragraphs 84-86). The UK Government should seek to advance this through the Arctic Council and the IMO. Consideration should also be given to setting up a liability deposit bond scheme which could be administered by the Arctic Council.

·  an oil and gas industry group is set up to peer-review companies' drilling and spill response plans and operating practices, reporting publicly (paragraph 87). The Government should seek, through the Arctic Council, to engage the oil companies operating in the Arctic to set this up.

·  further independent research and testing on oil spill response techniques in Arctic conditions is conducted, including assessing the environmental side-effects of such techniques (paragraphs 73-83). Only once response techniques have been independently proven to be as effective as those used for temperate latitudes should drilling be permitted to go ahead. Through the Arctic Council, the Government should seek to persuade Arctic littoral states to carry out and publish the results of such further research and testing.

·  an internationally recognised environmental sanctuary is established in at least part of the Arctic (paragraphs 136-138).

We discuss in Part 4 how the Government could seek to use its influence on Arctic matters to bring such outcomes nearer.


107. With the ice retreating, shipping will grow. Most Arctic shipping is currently around the periphery of the Arctic Ocean and is primarily for re-supplying Arctic communities, marine tourism or moving natural resources (petroleum products and mineral ores) out of the Arctic.[430] However, as the Arctic warms and the ice-cap retreats there will be an increasing number of ships passing through the Arctic to cut journey times between continents. The Northern Sea Route (across the top of Russia) can reduce the travel distance from northern Europe to Japan by 40% and the Northwest Passage (through the north of Canada and across Alaska) reduces the travel distance from northern Europe to America's Pacific Northwest by 25% (see Figure 1).[431] The Government's Climate Change Risk Assessment estimated that these Arctic shipping routes could mean a "40% reduction in shipping transportation required to service current flow demand for container traffic to Asia".[432] As well as reducing journey times, the two Arctic shipping routes offer lower fuel costs and reduced emissions, and avoid the risk of piracy in the Indian Ocean and passage fees for the Suez and Panama Canals.[433]

108. The future drivers of Arctic marine activity are expected to be natural resource development (oil and gas, minerals and fisheries) and international trade.[434] We heard concerns that increased shipping would pose a threat to Arctic ecosystems, particularly from a release of oil through accidental or illegal discharge of bunker fuel, but also through the introduction of alien species and pathogens, disturbances of wildlife through sound, sight, collisions, and disruption of migratory patterns.[435] ClientEarth believed that international shipping was a comparatively poorly regulated sector for particulate matter emissions and that on some estimates black carbon and other emissions from shipping in the Arctic might increase by two or three times by 2050.[436]

109. Due to the presence of ice, shipping through the Arctic on the two main routes is still seasonal and limited. The Northern Sea Route is more than 50% ice-free for between 20 to 30 days during each summer and is navigable by commercial vessels only with ice-breaker assistance.[437] The Northwest Passage is only ice-free for a few days a year and is not consistently navigable yet because of the amount of drifting ice.[438] Nuclear-powered ice-breakers make most places in the Arctic technically accessible all year round, but they are expensive to hire.[439] 34 ships made the voyage along the Northern Sea Route in 2011 (4 in 2010), compared with 18,000 a year transiting through the Suez canal.[440] The Government does not believe that many ships flying the UK flag operated in Arctic waters, nor does it consider that a significant amount of trade to or from the UK yet passes through Arctic waters. It had not, however, made an assessment of the extent to which future increased shipping through the Arctic would be UK-flagged.[441]

110. Arctic voyages through the 2020s are expected to be "overwhelmingly 'destinational', not trans-Arctic"[442] and Charles Emmerson saw the emergence of the Arctic as a large-scale bulk-carrier transport corridor as a longer-term prospect.[443] The Northern Sea Route was expected to be open 90 days a year in the 2020s and 180 days a year by the 2080s. The Northwest Passage was expected to be open 30 days a year by the 2020s and 120 days by the 2080s.[444] As well as the presence of ice, a lack of ports and other infrastructure and the costs of insurance could limit future trans-Arctic operations.[445] Development could potentially also be hampered by disagreement over the legal status of the routes. Both Canada and Russia regarded these routes as passing through their own 'internal waters'.[446] The UK Government took the view that both routes were 'straits used for international navigation' and was working with other states to achieve consensus on this.[447] There is also scope for disagreement if Arctic states, particularly Canada and Russia, sought to apply special regulations on shipping in the Arctic, above and beyond any internationally agreed conventions.[448]

111. Of the two routes, the Northern Sea Route is more likely to see development over the next 10-20 years because of Russian political support and the development of onshore and offshore mineral resources in the Russian Arctic.[449] The Russian authorities are activity promoting the Northern Sea Route, and expect 64 million tons of cargo to pass through by 2020, a tenth of the volume that passed through the Suez canal in 2010.[450] Peter Hinchliffe from the International Chamber of Shipping told us that shipping companies were not yet investing on a large scale basis to use these routes. But as it became clear that safe passage would be possible, he thought that shipping companies would become more interested.[451] Ports in Scotland and northern England could receive more vessels using the Northern Sea Route.[452] The UK had expertise in ship building and design.[453] The Royal Navy, through submarine activities, have extensive operational expertise in the region.[454] Most of the commercial vessels operating in the Arctic were likely to be insured by UK-based firms,[455] which also offered "an opportunity for UK to exert influence in relation to environmental protection".[456] An increase in Arctic shipping is inevitably bringing new opportunities for UK businesses and ports, and that will enable UK authorities to play a regulatory role in future Arctic shipping. The Government should review how it can support relevant sectors of the economy but with a clear focus on meeting the requirements of sustainable development of the Arctic. We explore in Part 4 the wider requirement for a UK Arctic Strategy which could subsume such analysis.

112. The Arctic Council concluded in 2009 that although there could be longer seasons of navigation through the Arctic, there would not necessarily be less difficult ice conditions for marine operations.[457] Ships would be exposed to extreme weather conditions, including the presence of icebergs and fog.[458] Cold temperatures might "reduce the effectiveness of numerous components of the ship and when ice is present it can impose additional loads on the hull, propulsion system and appendages".[459] There were gaps in hydrographic navigational data for "significant portions of primary shipping routes", a lack of emergency response capacity for much of the Arctic, and "serious limitations" to radio and satellite communications and few systems to monitor and control the movement of ships in ice-covered waters.[460] Richard Steiner told us that given these still-present dangers, the goal should be to "dial down" the risks from Arctic shipping as much as possible with tight safeguards and controls, including ice-breaker and recue-tug support.[461]


113. At present there is no process to prevent ships that are not prepared for Arctic conditions from entering the Arctic.[462] Ronald Allen from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency told us that because there were no mandatory Arctic requirements "we would not necessarily know whether a ship was going to go through there".[463] There had already been a significant increase in cruise ships observed in the summer season around Greenland, a majority of which were not purpose-built for Arctic waters.[464] Peter Hinchliffe of the International Chamber of Shipping told us that there was a risk that ship operators might in the future be tempted to use an Arctic route "before it is entirely safe to do so", but for the moment using the more accessible Northern Sea Route was "very much in the Russian backyard" and dependent on Russian ice-breaker support.[465]

114. The UN International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is responsible for regulating shipping. It oversees two key conventions:[466] the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS),[467] and the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships Convention (MARPOL).[468] These do not specifically exclude operations in polar regions, but neither do they make any special provision for them.[469] Ronald Allen told us that the presence of ice did not in itself give rise to a need for new shipping regulations and cited the example of the Baltic Sea where ice "is perfectly well taken care of". It was the combination of a number of factors in the Arctic that created "new risks" and demonstrated "the compelling need for a mandatory code for polar operations".[470] As a body made up of individual member states, the IMO did not provide evidence to our Committee.

115. In 2009, guidelines for ships operating in polar waters were adopted by the IMO.[471] Although not enforceable,[472] the guidelines emphasise the need to ensure that all ship systems are capable of functioning effectively under anticipated operating conditions and provide adequate levels of safety in accident and emergency situations. They also stipulate at least one 'ice navigator' to help steer the ship through ice covered waters.[473] Greenpeace and E3G had concerns about the level of compliance with these guidelines.[474] In February 2010, the IMO commenced work to develop these into a mandatory 'Polar Code' to cover the "full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters" for ships operating in polar waters.[475] The Code would build upon existing regulation,[476] and recognise that different measures for the Arctic and Antarctic might be appropriate.[477] Work was concentrating on the development of measures for new ships, and the extent to which the Code would apply to existing ships still needed to be considered.[478] Fishing vessels would not be covered.[479] Peter Hinchliffe outlined the current thinking on how the Code might look:

    The first part of the Polar Code will be a polar water operations manual, so that will be the handbook for operations. Then there will be chapters on ... structural integrity; watertight and weather-tight integrity; machinery; anchoring arrangements; habitability; fire safety; life-saving appliances; navigation; communications; operational requirements; crewing and crew training; and environmental protection. That will be the mandatory part. Then this will be backed up by a part B, which is a guidance section, which is not mandatory but which companies will take into account in their risk-based approach to this problem.[480]

116. In terms of enforcing existing regulations and any new Code, the primary jurisdiction for any ship is its 'flag state' (the country where the ship is registered).[481] UNCLOS sets out the responsibilities of flag states, including the requirement to follow regulations set by the IMO. Some countries operate 'open registers' for ships not based in that country to register their ships there ('flag of convenience'). Liberia, Marshall Islands and Panama accounted for 40% of global tonnage in 2011.[482] Godfrey Souter from the Department for Transport told us that although there was a variation in the standard of enforcement by flag states, the role of the 'port states' (which also have regulatory obligations for visiting ships) was a "useful backup". He believed that there was no particular reason why a non-Arctic state could not be a fully effective flag state for enforcing the international regulations and standards that apply to Arctic shipping.[483] Ronald Allen told us that once a Polar Code was in place, it would be possible to demonstrate that a ship had been inspected and issued with certificates that entitled it to go into polar regions.[484] Some satellites were already tracking ships using their mandatory 'Automatic Identification Signals' and others were planned.[485]

117. The IMO expected completion of an agreed Polar Code in 2014, at which point it would need to be ratified as a mandatory instrument.[486] It would come into force after a further 18 months.[487] Given that it could take 5 years from a ship being commissioned to being delivered,[488] the earliest a new purpose-built ship could be ready which complied with an operational Polar Code would be in about 2021, at which point the Northern Sea Route might be open for 90 days a year (paragraph 110). However, Peter Hinchliffe believed that the Polar Code would not make much change to the 'Ice Class' standards of construction and design of many ships already operating in ice-covered waters.[489]

118. Our predecessor Committee had noted criticisms of the pace of the IMO's work during its 2009 inquiry on reducing CO2 and other emissions from shipping.[490] Godfrey Souter believed that as the IMO primarily worked through committees, which might only meet a few times a year, it was "not the fastest organisation in the world, but it is very thorough" and the result is "something that is always workable".[491] Similarly, Henry Bellingham MP, the then Under Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told us that "the professionalism of their work is incredibly clear, but, like any UN organisation, it moves at the speed of the slowest in the convoy".[492] The Government was in a strong position to influence the IMO's work, particularly as the UK was a large contributor.[493] Jane Rumble from the Polar Regions Unit in the FCO told us that the UK Government would examine whether the process could be speeded up:

    We would like to try and identify those areas where there is common agreement and see whether there is any prospect of getting those squared away and then focusing on the areas where there is more of a problem. At the moment we are waiting for the whole package to be agreed before anything is agreed.[494]

119. Richard Steiner wanted to see greater protections for the Arctic from the risks of Arctic shipping. He told us that the current liability regime—the Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, known as the 'Bunkers Convention'—was "almost laughable", providing for only $20 million of compensation to those suffering ship spills, and that some Arctic countries (the USA, and Iceland. Sweden is still to ratify the convention) had not even signed up to this.[495] He suggested that the UK Government could recommend that some of the Arctic sea routes be designated as Particular Sensitive Sea Areas to provide a greater focus on their protection.[496] (Under the MARPOL convention, the Antarctic has been designated as a 'special area' for a higher level of protection for all types of pollution, whereas the Arctic has not, and a ban on the use and carriage of heavy grade oil in the Antarctic was recently enacted through MARPOL regulations, but again this did not cover the Arctic.[497])

120. There are clear risks from increased shipping to Arctic ecosystems and effective standards must be put in place as soon as possible in readiness for an inevitable increase in the volume of Arctic shipping. The Government should use its influence in the IMO and Arctic Council to:

·  ensure the Polar Code, currently being developed, is robust and provides for environmentally safe navigation through Arctic waters. We are disappointed that the IMO chose to not give evidence to us on this inquiry, which hindered our scrutiny of the IMO's work to develop this Code;

·  speed up the development of the Polar Code by working with other members of the IMO to identify Chapters that could be agreed to a quicker timeframe than the rest of the Code. Although essential to reach international agreement on shipping regulations, the pace of its work is slow;

·  increase the maximum financial liability of ship operators for pollution in the Arctic; and

·  increase the protections afforded to the Arctic under existing IMO shipping regulations, including seeking support to designate the Arctic as a 'Particularly Sensitive Sea Area' within the MARPOL regulations.


121. While the Arctic Ocean has few commercial fisheries, adjacent seas support some of the largest fish stocks in the world, notably in the Barents, Norwegian, Iceland and Bering Seas.[498] Such fisheries fall mainly under the jurisdiction of Arctic coastal states, and are managed by those states.[499] Fishing is a key industry and employer for some Arctic states, representing 90% of Greenland's export earnings, 33% of Iceland's and 6% of Norway's (but less than 1% of the export earnings of the United States and Russia).[500]

122. It is difficult to predict how climate change will affect Arctic fisheries because of a lack of data.[501] The Barents Sea has been relatively well studied because of fisheries co-operation between Norway and Russia, but other parts of the Arctic less so.[502] Current climate models have not generally included the necessary variables (water mass mixing, up-welling etc), and the Arctic ecosystems on which many fish species may depend are not well understood.[503] Nevertheless, climate change is likely to alter the species composition of the Arctic—increasing some species, reducing others and allowing some to move into the region.[504] Arctic char, broad whitefish and Arctic cisco, which are a major part of the diets of indigenous people, are among the species threatened.[505] Further research is needed to understand the full effects of climate change and retreating sea-ice on fisheries.[506]

123. It is possible that the warm conditions might prompt some species to migrate northwards. But there are, however, a number of factors that constrain this. The Arctic Ocean is expected to be ice covered in winter and therefore it is likely that the surrounding shelves will have seawater cooled to freezing in winter, limiting stocks to true Arctic species physiologically adapted to low temperatures.[507] Furthermore, the presence of freshwater in surface layers over much of the Arctic Ocean, as a result of the ice-cap melting, could limit nutrient up-welling from depth and riverine nutrient inputs might only support nutrient hotspots river mouths, so the Arctic overall might remain nutrient-poor for fisheries.[508] Ocean acidification, introduced alien species and conflicts with other activities like petroleum and shipping may also affect fish stocks and fisheries.[509] An Arctic Council assessment suggested, however, that the effect of climate change on fish stocks would probably be of less significance than the effects of fisheries policies and their enforcement.[510] For example, potential new fishing grounds, if exploited unsustainably, could result in a loss of fish stocks further south because areas of the Arctic might be acting as an area for respite for some North Atlantic and North Pacific species.[511]

124. There are a number of international instruments in place that aim to ensure fisheries are managed sustainably, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Fish Stocks agreement.[512] Some fisheries are managed through bilateral arrangements between Arctic states and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (such as the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission), but large areas of the Arctic are not covered since it has so far not been necessary.[513] Against the background of Arctic states settling territorial claims to the Arctic (paragraph 127), an outcome of the June 2012 Rio+20 Summit was agreement to address the issue of the conservation and sustainable use of "marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction", including through a new UNCLOS instrument.[514] The Government should play a full role in developing a new international agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of the marine biological diversity of the Arctic beyond national jurisdictions.

125. Arctic fisheries are outside the jurisdiction of the UK Government. If fish stocks did increase, the Natural Environment Research Council believed that Arctic states would "doubtless seek to exploit any new stocks" and would be unlikely to permit foreign vessels, including UK and EU vessels, to fish within their 200-mile exclusive economic zones, unless "good relations" were maintained and "large licensing fees are paid".[515] The UK Government intended to continue working through the EU on sustainable management of Arctic fishing and fisheries, and its overriding principle for the management of any new fisheries will "continue to be the precautionary and ecosystem approaches, based on best available scientific information".[516] As an observer on the Arctic Council, the Government should also seek to influence Arctic states to regulate their fisheries sustainably. Any bilateral agreements between the UK and other states should seek to ensure that smaller boats, which more readily support sustainable fishing practice, are able to benefit from any quotas agreed.

217   Lloyd's and Chatham House, Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, 2012. Back

218   ibid Back

219   Ev w11  Back

220   US Geological Survey, Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal: Estimates of Undiscovered Oil and Gas North of the Arctic Circle, 2008. Back

221   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

222   Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal: Estimates of Undiscovered Oil and Gas North of the Arctic Circle, op citBack

223   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

224   Q 75  Back

225   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

226   The Brookings Institute, Chill Out-Why Cooperation is Balancing Conflict Among Major Powers in the New Arctic, May 2012. Back

227   Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004.  Back

228   Government of Norway, The High North: Vision and Strategies, 2011. Back

229   ibid Back

230   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

231   European Commission, "European Commission signs today agreement of cooperation with Greenland on raw materials" (press release), 13 June 2012. Back

232   Q 132 [Robert Blaauw]  Back

233   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

234   Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal: Estimates of Undiscovered Oil and Gas North of the Arctic Circle, op citBack

235   See BP's website: [Accessed September 2012]. Back

236   Ev 195 Back

237   ibid Back

238   "Shell begins drilling on new Arctic well",, 9 September 2012. Back

239   Q 133 [Robert Blaauw]  Back

240   Committee on Climate Change, The Fourth Carbon Budget - Reducing emissions through the 2020s, 2010. Back

241   EU Climate Change Expert Group 'EG Science', The 2°C target: information reference document, 2008. Back

242   Committee on Climate Change, Building a low-carbon economy - the UK's contribution to tackling climate change, 2008.  Back

243   ibid Back

244   Q 1  Back

245   Q 76 [Rod Downie] Back

246   Ev 145 Back

247   Q1  Back

248   Environmental Audit Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2010-12, A Green Economy, HC 1025. Back

249   Responses from Shell and Cairn can be found at Ev 204 and Ev 208. Back

250   Qq 151, 152; Ev 208, Ev 204 Back

251   Q 138  Back

252   Qq 145,149  Back

253   Ev 195 Back

254   Q 132 [Robert Blaauw] Back

255   Qq 132, 139 [Robert Blaauw] Back

256   Ev 170 Back

257   See DECC's website: [Accessed Jul 2012]; andNumber10's website: [Accessed July 2012]. Back

258   See Number10's website: [Accessed July 2012]. Back

259   Qq 409, 410  Back

260   Q 412 [Chris Barton] Back

261   Q 409  Back

262   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

263   Q 1  Back

264   Richard Steiner, "Why Arctic Ocean oil drilling is a risky choice", The Ecologist, 19 October 2011.  Back

265   Ev 163  Back

266   ibid  Back

267   Ev 145 Back

268   Q 166 Back

269   Ev 195 Back

270   Qq 132, 167  Back

271   "Why Arctic Ocean oil drilling is a risky choice", op citBack

272   Q 3  Back

273   Q 3 [Ruth Davis] Back

274   "Why Arctic Ocean oil drilling is a risky choice", op citBack

275   Q 3 [Ruth Davis] Back

276   Ev 145 Back

277   Q 2; Ev 145 Back

278   Lloyd's and Chatham House, Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, 2012. Back

279   Ev 195, Ev 145; Q 200 [Peter Velez] Back

280   Ev 193; See also: [ Accessed July 2012]. Back

281   Q 47. Similarly, Q3 [Ruth Davis] Back

282   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

283   Ev w3 Back

284   See Barents Observer articles: and [Accessed July 2012]. Back

285   Ev 145 Back

286   Q 3  Back

287   Q 3 [Ruth Davis], Q 74 [Dr Babenko], Q 398 [Richard Steiner]; Ev 145, Ev 159, Ev w3, Ev 163  Back

288   Ev 163 Back

289   Q 74  Back

290   Ev 163 Back

291   Qq 199, 200  Back

292   Mechanical response technologies were the only pre-approved spill response technique for the US Arctic Ocean [Pew Environment Group, Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, November 2010].  Back

293   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

294   It called amongst other things: more research to model oil spread; sensor technology for tracking spills; research on Arctic-specific potential problems with in-situ burning of spilt oil; more research on potential problems with use of dispersants; more research on how oil is entrapped under ice, and its percolation to the surface; more research on Arctic-specific effects on biodiversity; more research on how oil interacts with newly forming early-winter ice and identifying the effects of natural oil leaks from the sea-bed: Ev 128  Back

295   Q 398  Back

296   Q 200 [Peter Velez] Back

297   ibid; Q 210 [Richard Heaton] Back

298   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

299   ibid Back

300   Q 47  Back

301   Ev 188 Back

302   Qq 218 - 222  Back

303   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

304   ibid Back

305   Ev 188 Back

306   Ev 204  Back

307   Ev 188 Back

308   See the NEB's website: [Accessed July 2012]. Back

309   Q 74 [Dr Babenko]  Back

310   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

311   Ev 188 Back

312   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op cit; Q 3 [Ruth Davis]; Ev 163 Back

313   Cairn, Oil Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan Exploration Drilling Programme 2011-Greenland, p 78. Back

314   Q 3 [Ruth Davis]; Oil Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan Exploration Drilling Programme 2011-Greenland, op cit, p 70. Back

315   Ev 145 Back

316   Q 210  Back

317   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

318   Ev 145; Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

319   Ev 188 Back

320   ibid Back

321   ibid Back

322   Oil Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan Exploration Drilling Programme 2011-Greenland, op cit, p 86. Back

323   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

324   Q 205  Back

325   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, op citBack

326   ibid Back

327   Oil Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan Exploration Drilling Programme 2011-Greenland, op cit, p 87. Back

328   Q 205 [Peter Velez] Back

329   Ev 163 Back

330   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

331   Ev 159 Back

332   ibid Back

333   Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, op citBack

334   Ev 145 Back

335   Ev w3  Back

336   Q 223  Back

337   Ev 188 Back

338   Oil Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan Exploration Drilling Programme 2011-Greenland, op citBack

339   Q 225  Back

340   Q 392  Back

341   ibid  Back

342   "Greenland wants $2bn bond from oil firms keen to drill in its Arctic waters", The Guardian online, 12 November 2010 [Accessed September 2012].  Back

343   Qq 168 - 171  Back

344   Q 173  Back

345   Q 390  Back

346   ibid  Back

347   Antarctic Bill, Part 1 (clause 6) [Bill 14 (2012-13) - EN] Back

348   Ev 214 Back

349   Q 403  Back

350   In 1979 there was partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor at the Three Mile Island Power Station, Pennsylvania. Back

351   Q 393  Back

352   Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2005. Back

353   Arctic Council, Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, 2011. Back

354   Lloyd's and Chatham House, Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, 2012; Arctic Council's Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme working group, AMAP contribution to the preparation of a Rio+10 document, 2001. Back

355   AMAP contribution to the preparation of a Rio+10 document, op cit. Back

356   Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, op citBack

357   Principle 22, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Back

358   Ev w14 Back

359   Ev w3  Back

360   Dr Rodion Sulyandziga writing in the Circle Magazine, WWF, 2010. Back

361   Aqqaluk Lynge writing in the Circle magazine, WWF, 2010. Back

362   Ev 195 Back

363   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

364   Q 156  Back

365   Q 157  Back

366   Q 162 [Peter Velez]  Back

367   Q 160 [Robert Blaauw]  Back

368   Qq 158,160 [Peter Velez] Back

369   ibid Back

370   Arctic Athabaskan Council, Aleut International Association, Gwich'in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Arctic Indigenous Peoples of the North, and Saami Council. Back

371   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

372   Government Offices of Sweden, Sweden's Chairmanship Programme for the Arctic Council 2011-2013, 2011. Back

373   SDWG Website:  Back

374   Ev w27 Back

375   Ev w3  Back

376   Q 395; "Panel needed so public has say in oil drilling issues", Juneau Empire, 19 July 2011;  Back

377   Q 135  Back

378   Q 132  Back

379   Q 163,164,166  Back

380   Q 172  Back

381   Q 398  Back

382   Q 1  Back

383   Q 3  Back

384   Ev 204  Back

385   Q 390; "Arctic Ocean oil drilling a risky choice", The Ecologist, 1 October 2011. Back

386   "Arctic Ocean oil drilling a risky choice", op cit.  Back

387   Including: blowout preventers with redundant shear rams, well design and integrity verification, proven seabed well capping equipment, independent well control experts on rigs, rigorous cementing and pressure testing procedures, dual well control barriers, immediate relief well capability on stand-by, state-of-the-art seabed pipeline design and monitoring, tanker traffic monitoring, strict seasonal drilling windows allowing sufficient time for response to late-season spills, and robust spill response plans. Back

388   Ev 204 Back

389   Ev 145 Back

390   Q 74  Back

391   Q 187  Back

392   Q 183 [Richard Heaton] Back

393   Including the United States Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Geological Service, the State of Alaska, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and others. There was also an interagency taskforce from the White House. Q 182 [Peter Velez]  Back

394   Q 3  Back

395   Oil Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan Back

396   Professor Richard Steiner, University of Alaska (ret.), Review of Cairn Oil Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan (OSCP): Exploration Drilling Programme-2011 Greenland, August 20, 2011. Back

397   Q 48  Back

398   Pew Environment Group, Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences, 2010. Back

399   Q 186 Back

400   Q 3; Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op cit; "Report names people responsible for accident", Barents Observer (online), 2 May 2012 [Accessed July 2012]. Back

401   Q 348  Back

402   "Russian oil rig sinking casts doubt on Arctic Plan", Associated Press (online), 23 December 2011. Back

403   Q 348 [Mr Traavik] Back

404   Q 420 [Chris Barton] Back

405   Q 414  Back

406   ibid Back

407   Q 4  Back

408   Ev 204 Back

409   Ev 208 Back

410   Q 418  Back

411   Q 415 [Chris Barton] Back

412   Q 434 [Mr Bellingham] Back

413   Q 400  Back

414   Qq 414, 434  Back

415   Q 246  Back

416   Q 4 - Ruth Davis Back

417   "EU crackdown on oil firms will not extend to overseas operations", The Guardian online, 25 October 2011; Qq 3, 4 [Ruth Davis] Back

418   Qq 424 - 431, 433 - 434  Back

419   Q 431 [Mr Bellingham]  Back

420   ibid Back

421   Q 398  Back

422   Q 399  Back

423   Qq 398, 399; See also Ev 145  Back

424   Q 3  Back

425   Energy and Climate Change Committee, Second Report of Session 2010-12, UK Deepwater drilling, implications of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, HC 450. Back

426   Q 206  Back

427   Qq 197,198  Back

428   Q 422  Back

429   "Risks to arctic ecosystems", The Circle magazine, WWF, March 2010. Back

430   Arctic Council, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, 2009; Arctic Council, Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, 2011. Back

431   Q 281 [Godfrey Souter] Back

432   UK Government, UK Climate Change Risk Assessment for the fisheries and marine sector, January 2012. Back

433   Lloyd's and Chatham House, Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, 2012, UK Government, UK Climate Change Risk Assessment for the fisheries and marine sector, January 2012; Q 282 [Peter Hinchliffe] Back

434   Arctic Council, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, 2009. Back

435   Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op cit; Ev 163 Back

436   Ev 139. Also, other ship emissions during Arctic voyages, such as SOx and NOx, may have unintended consequences for the Arctic environment [Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op cit.] Back

437   Ev 170 Back

438   ibid Back

439   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

440   Qq 280 - 281 [Godfrey Souter], Q 360 [Ms Clase]  Back

441   Ev 170 Back

442   Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op citBack

443   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

444   UK Climate Change Risk Assessment for the fisheries and marine sector, op citBack

445   Q 281 [Godfrey Souter]; Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op citBack

446   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

447   Q 281 [Godfrey Souter] Back

448   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

449   ibid Back

450   Q 317 [Godfrey Souter]; The Brookings Institute, Chill Out-Why Cooperation is Balancing Conflict Among Major Powers in the New Arctic, May 2012. Back

451   Q 284  Back

452   Q 281 [Godfrey Souter]  Back

453   Ev 159 Back

454   ibid Back

455   Q 281 [Godfrey Souter]  Back

456   Ev 159 Back

457   Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op citBack

458   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

459   Dr H Deggim of the IMO, Progress towards the development of an international polar code, 2012 [Paper submitted to the International Conference on Ice Class Ships, Royal Institution of Naval Architects, London, 4 and 5 July 2012: ] Back

460   Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op citBack

461   Q 403  Back

462   Qq 324 - 327 [Ronald Allen] Back

463   Q 321  Back

464   Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op citBack

465   Qq 282, 285  Back

466   Q 286  Back

467   The International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974. Back

468   The International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973/78. Back

469   Q 286 [Ronald Allen] Back

470   The presence of ice, a lower-temperature environment, the increased distance from search and rescue facilities, the lack of hydrographic information, the differences in navigation and communication systems, and the potential for environmental damage; Q 286 [Ronald Allen] Back

471   Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op citBack

472   Q 286 [Ronald Allen] Back

473   Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report, op cit, Progress towards the development of an international polar code, op citBack

474   Greenpeace and E3G Back

475   Progress towards the development of an international polar code, op citBack

476   Q 286 [Peter Hinchliffe] Back

477   Progress towards the development of an international polar code, op citBack

478   ibid Back

479   Qq 306 - 309  Back

480   Q 286  Back

481   Q 312 [Godfrey Souter] Back

482   UN Conference on Trade and Development Secretariat, Review of Maritime Transport, 2011. Back

483   Qq 312, 313 [Godfrey Souter] Back

484   Q 327  Back

485   "Ahoy! Your ship is being tracked from orbit", BBC online news, 20 July 2012. Back

486   Progress towards the development of an international polar code, op citBack

487   Ev 214 Back

488   Q 297 [Peter Hinchliffe] Back

489   ibid Back

490   Environmental Audit Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2008-09, Reducing CO2 and other emissions from shipping, HC 528.  Back

491   Q 289  Back

492   Q 440  Back

493   Ev 145, Ev 159, Ev 163, Ev w7, Ev w11, Ev w23  Back

494   Q 461; Ev 214 Back

495   Q 400; IMO, Status of multilateral conventions and instruments in respect of which the IMO or its Secretary-General performs depository or other functions, August 2012.  Back

496   Q 400  Back

497   Progress towards the development of an international polar code, op citBack

498   Arctic Council, Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, 2011. Prominent species in these fisheries are Atlantic and Pacific cod, halibut and herring, walleye pollock, blue whiting, redfishes, and Greenland halibut.  Back

499   For an overview of agreements see: Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, op cit, pp 72-77. Back

500   Lloyd's and Chatham House, Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, 2012. Back

501   Q 271 [Dr Ellis-Evans] Back

502   Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North, op citBack

503   Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2005. Back

504   Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, op cit, Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004; Ev 159; Climate change can affect "fish production" through a variety of means. Direct effects of temperature could occur on the metabolism, growth, and distribution of fish. Food web effects (greater predation) and migration pattern changes could also occur, although these are hard to predict.  Back

505   Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, op citBack

506   Ev 170; Q 272 [Dr Ellis-Evans] Back

507   Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, op citBack

508   Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, op cit; Ev 159; Q 271 [Dr Ellis-Evans] Back

509   Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, op citBack

510   Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, op citBack

511   Ev 159 Back

512   Arctic Ocean Review Project-Phase one report, op citBack

513   Arctic Changes, POSTnote 334, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, June 2009. Back

514   UN, The Future We Want, June 2012, p 28. Back

515   Ev 159; Q 274 [Dr Ellis-Evans] Back

516   Ev 170 Back

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Prepared 20 September 2012