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Home → December, 2011

Monthly Archives: December 2011 − News & Stories

Polar bears

An inte­res­t­ing artic­le about polar bears in the light of cli­ma­te chan­ge has been published by the Rus­si­an Aca­de­my of Sci­ence. Click here to read the artic­le.

Litt­le polar bear fami­ly in nor­t­hern Spits­ber­gen. Polar bears have to cope with cli­ma­te chan­ge and envi­ron­men­tal toxins and face accor­din­gly an uncer­tain future.

Polar bear family

Libya and the north pole

The new Liby­an govern­ment has announ­ced a flight to the north pole tog­e­ther with repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of NATO mem­ber sta­tes that took part in the 2011 mili­ta­ry cam­paign. The flight aims at an increase of the fee­ling for tog­e­ther­ness within the Liby­an socie­ty and a posi­ti­ve recep­ti­on in the world public.

The Sys­sel­man­nen has, howe­ver, denied per­mis­si­on for a fuel stop in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The orga­ni­zers of the flight said they were dis­ap­poin­ted and would try to take the issue up to a poli­ti­cal level.

Lon­gye­ar­by­en air­port: Not available to the Liby­an govern­ment on their way to the north pole.

Libya and the north pole - data-lazy-src=

Spits­ber­gen: UNESCO world heri­ta­ge site?

Parts of Spits­ber­gen may be added to the world heri­ta­ge site list of the UNESCO. In 2012, a working group of the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment will start to com­pi­le an appli­ca­ti­on that can be sub­mit­ted to the UNESCO at a later stage.

Spits­ber­gen: Uni­que natu­re and histo­ry and thus a poten­ti­al UNESCO world heri­ta­ge site. Here remains of a blub­ber oven from 17th cen­tu­ry wha­ling at Smee­ren­burg.

Spitsbergen: UNESCO world heritage site? - data-lazy-src=

Ny Åle­sund: new geo­de­tic sta­ti­on

Until now the geo­de­tic sta­ti­on in Ny Åle­sund is situa­ted near the air­field, about 1 km from the vil­la­ge. The Nor­we­gi­an topo­gra­phic agen­cy that is run­ning the sta­ti­on intends to build a new sta­ti­on near the coast at Bran­dals­pyn­ten, a pen­in­su­la not far from Ny Åle­sund. This is con­tro­ver­si­al becau­se the­re is a gene­ral con­sen­sus that the envi­ron­ment near Ny Åle­sund is to be kept in a natu­ral con­di­ti­on as much as pos­si­ble, to pre­ser­ve the eco­lo­gi­cal and sci­en­ti­fic values. The Nor­we­gi­an minis­try for the envi­ron­ment has now announ­ced that per­mis­si­on will be given to build the new sta­ti­on.

It is expec­ted that 5 years will be nee­ded to build the new sta­ti­on and both sta­ti­ons will run par­al­lel for 3 years to syn­chro­ni­ze the data.

The old geo­de­tic sta­ti­on at the air­field near Ny Åle­sund

Ny Ålesund Geodetic station

Source: Nor­we­gi­sches Umwelt­mi­nis­te­ri­um

New coal mine at Lun­ckef­jel­let

The Nor­we­gi­an depart­ment of eco­no­my and trade has announ­ced that per­mis­si­on for a new coal mine at Lun­ckef­jel­let will be given. The mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kull­kom­pa­ni (SNSK) has appli­ed for this per­mis­si­on to replace the mines at Sveagru­va, which are decli­ning in terms of qua­li­ty and quan­ti­ty of coal. The depart­ment has men­tio­ned main­ly eco­no­mic­al reaons.

The Nor­we­gi­an depart­ment of eco­no­my and trade is the most important share­hol­der of the SNSK.

Ope­ning a new mine clo­se to a natio­nal park is a con­tro­ver­si­al mat­ter. The Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment keeps say­ing it wants Sval­bard to beco­me “the best admi­nis­te­red wil­der­ness in the world” and pushes to clo­se major are­as to the public (see first Decem­ber note). To the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment, ope­ning a new mine near a eco­lo­gi­cal­ly very important tun­dra area seems to be less envi­ron­men­tal­ly harmfull than small boats, rub­ber boots and limi­t­ed visi­tor num­bers in bar­ren are­as.

Envi­ron­men­tal obli­ga­ti­ons, inclu­ding a cle­a­nup after the end of mining acti­vi­ties, are part of the per­mis­si­on.

Reind­a­len. The new mine will be direct­ly south of it (right side).


Source: Nor­we­gi­sches Wirt­schafts- und Han­dels­mi­nis­te­ri­um

East Sval­bard

The working group of the Sys­sel­man­nen has pro­du­ced a map as a base for the ongo­ing dis­cus­sion about a manage­ment plan for east Sval­bard. The cur­rent pro­po­sal will be for­ward­ed to the Nor­we­gi­an direc­to­ra­te for natu­re admi­nis­tra­ti­on in Janu­ary 2012. Later, it will go through ano­ther public hea­ring. The map below is the basis for the cur­rent pro­po­sal.

East Svalbard

The cur­rent pro­po­sal distin­gu­is­hes seve­ral zones for eas­tern Sval­bard:
Zone A: »sci­en­ti­fic refe­rence area«, which will most likely be a no go area for ever­y­bo­dy except a few sci­en­tists sel­ec­ted by the admi­nis­tra­ti­on.
Zone B: No traf­fic during the bree­ding sea­son.
Zone C: spe­ci­fic site-spe­ci­fic gui­de­lines
Zone D: local bans on traf­fic at cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ge sites, in force sin­ce 2010
Zone E: Kong Karls Land (alre­a­dy off limits)
Map: Sys­sel­man­nen

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen


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