During the NATO summit in Strasbourg and Kehl last weekend, Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson and US President Barack Obama discussed a closer cooperation between their countries on geothermal energy.
Skarphédinsson and Obama at the NATO summit. Courtesy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Obama declared that he was interested in such cooperation, adding that he was familiar with Iceland being a leader in the field of geothermal energy, as stated in press release from Iceland’s Foreign Ministry.
Obama added that his government is determined to develop renewable energy resources to reduce emission of greenhouse gases and create new “green” professions.
Before the summit came to an end, Obama appointed one of his primary consultants in the White House as a special contact for Iceland regarding energy cooperation.
In his speech during the NATO summit Skarphédinsson emphasized the importance of including the Nordic and Arctic regions in the development for a new strategy for NATO, pointing out that with the warming of the atmosphere a new shipping route would soon open up between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
That would cause increased transportation of goods through the Arctic Ocean while the melting of the polar ice would also reveal new territories where natural resources could be harnessed, such as oil and gas.
Skarphédinsson warned against increasing military presence in the Arctic regions, but encouraged NATO member states instead to prepare for a new role in relation to increased traffic and the harnessing of natural resources in these regions in the coming decades.
In the summit’s final comments, Iceland is thanked for bringing up the topic of safety in the Arctic.