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Agreement Breaks Silence on Climate

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Agreement Breaks Silence on Climate

Sólheimajökull glacier in South Iceland.

Sólheimajökull glacier. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Member of Parliament Svandís Svavarsdóttir, a member of the Left Green Movement and former minister for the environment, believes the Paris Climate Agreement has brought climate issues back into the discussion in Iceland, after silence regarding the issue before last parliamentary elections, RÚV reports.

She calls the agreement a reason for joy and an important milestone in the global discussion on climate:

“It’s clear that the nations of the world have agreed on a goal and that the maximum emission will be reached shortly, although that’s not nailed down in the text. Every nation must reevaluate its goals every five years, and the transparency is much more than documented before, and so on. Perhaps that’s what matters most.”

Svandís was asked by RÚV what the implications of the agreement would be for Iceland, to which she responded:

“I clearly remember that when we discussed politics before the 2013 elections, not a single person or news person mentioned climate issues. What has clearly changed is that climate issues are now the topic of discussion in Iceland. There we need to improve and I believe we should aim for Iceland to be carbon neutral by 2050, and we should cancel all plans for oil production in the Dreki Area, because producing fossil fuels while they are the main culprit in terms of global warming is a double standard. And there we must speak clearly.”

Meanwhile, Jón Ólafsson, oceanographer and professor emeritus at the University of Iceland told RÚV that changes in the ocean around Iceland occur faster, and are more dramatic than elsewhere. The ocean, he said, picks up a lot of carbon dioxide when it is cold, and this increases its acidity. Jón stated that unless carbon emissions are reduced, many species will face extinction.

Jón spoke at the Paris Conference of the challenges faced by the Atlantic Ocean due to climate change.

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