Arctic Frontiers 2015 started on Sunday evening with an armchair discussion addressing climate and energy, the keywords of this year’s conference. After some welcoming words by Salve Dahle, leader of the steering committee of Arctic Frontiers, the discussion was opened by moderator Olav Orheim, one of the world leading glaciologists and former director of the Norwegian Polar Institutes.
The discussion focused basically on the question: “To drill or not to drill” (in the Arctic) as the BarentsObserver so nicely summarized. The answer to this question ranged from a clear -No- by Nina Jensen, CEO of WWF Norway and Jens Ulltveit-Moe, CEO of Umoe who also thinks that investing into Barents Sea oil and gas exploration would turn into a financial disaster, over a more carefully approach by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, to a -Yes, but carefully- by Fran Ulmer, Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission and Line Miriam Sandberg, Troms county administrator for business, culture and health. Finally, Kjell Giæver, Director of Petroarctic was convinced that the world’s need of energy has to be covered (at least partly) with Arctic oil.
The armchair round ended with the beautiful performance of Norwegian soprano Berit Nordbakken Solset and pianist Fredrikke Bischoff but the evening continued at the aquarium Polaria where we could fight the cold with some delicious reindeer-lapskaus (traditional Norwegian vegetable-meet-stew). Some of us even got to enjoy a panorama movie about Svalbard and found the way to the bright awake seals and fish.
(text: Ulrike Grote; photo: Cory Matthews)