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Home* News and Stories → Tourists melt Spitsbergen …

Tourists melt Spitsbergen …

… something like this was one of many headlines in Norwegian newspapers after a report had been published about greenhous gas emissions in Svalbard. The report was compiled by KliF (»Klima og forurensningsdirektorat«, Norwegian authority on emissions) on request from the Norwegian Ministry of the enrivonment. According to the report, large oversea cruise ships are responsible for the bulk of the 50 % increase of climate-relevant gas emissions from 2000 to 2007, followed by coal mining (including coal shipping) and energy production.

The report has received strong criticism from several sides for using wrong data. For example, the total use of fuels by oversea cruise ships in the region has been calculated to be 20,208 tons for 2007, but could easily shown to be far less (7,764 tons, with careful assumptions, probably less) by using data from the Sysselmannen. Similarly, too large numbers have been used for coal transport ships and the coal power plant in Barentsburg (assumed 45,000 tons coal per year, but the consumption capacity is apparently only 30,000 tons).

The report is principally welcomed, but it is criticised that official reports that advise politics use wrong numbers, where correct ones could easily be obtained. KliF said that the aim was to give a general picture and time to achieve correct details could not be afforded. Critics fear that careless use of vital data damage faith of companies and population in (environmental) science and, consequently, administration that is based on such data. It is demanded that the report should be withdrawn and a revised version should be published.

According to the report, greenhouse gas emissions within Spitsbergen (Svalbard in Norwegian) amount to 1 % of the emissions in Norway. It is assumed that, until 2025, coal mining declines, but tourism may double. For 2007, local energy production has contributed with 44 % to Spitsbergen’s total volume of relevant emissions (58 % in 2000), oversea cruise ships with 16 % (2000: 12 %) and coal transport ships from Svea with 14 % (2000: 12 %).

How much is it? That’s what we want to know.
Coal power plant in Barentsburg.

Tourists melt Spitsbergen

Source: Svalbardposten, including letters to the editor from Trygve Steen (AECO, in Svalbardposten 08/2010), Terje Aunevik (Port agency Pole Position Spitsbergen, edition 09/2010) KliF report

last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange