Protecting the Arctic

HC 171, Second Report of Session 2012-13 - Volume I: Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence

House of Commons - Environmental Audit Committee
TSO (The Stationery Office)

The report 'Protecting the Arctic (HC 171)' concludes that temperature rises in the Arctic are already affecting the UK's weather; it is already proven that there are more fossil fuel reserves in the world than can be burnt safely and the Government must rethink its approach to combating climate change, by tackling the supply of fossil fuels as well as the demand.

The Committee calls for a halt on Arctic oil drilling until:

  • a pan-Arctic oil spill response standard is in place;

  • a stricter financial liability regime for oil and gas operations is introduced that requires companies to prove that they can meet the costs of cleaning up;

  • an oil and gas industry group is set up to peer-review companies' spill-response plans and operating practices, reporting publicly;

  • further independent research and testing on oil spill response techniques in Arctic conditions is conducted, including an assessment of their environmental side-effects; and

  • an internationally recognised environmental sanctuary is established in at least part of the Arctic.

Drilling is only currently feasible in the Arctic during a short summer window and if a blow-out occurred just before the dark Arctic winter returned it may not be possible to cap it until the following summer - potentially leaving oil spewing out under the ice for six months or more with devastating consequences for wildlife.

This report also warns that a collapse in summer Arctic sea-ice, increased methane emissions from thawing permafrost, melting of the Greenland ice-sheet and changes to the thermo-haline circulation could all have disastrous consequences for the world, pushing up sea levels and transforming weather patterns.

Extent 295 pages ISBN 9780215048394
Size A4 Price £24.50
Format Paperback Published 20 Sep 2012
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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