The European Union (EU) announced on Wednesday that it would seek an international deal to prohibit gas, coal, and oil extraction in the Arctic, just weeks before a major UN climate meeting, Njenje Media News reports.
The proposal by the European Commission underlines the EU’s desire to strengthen its global position, despite its limited influence in the Arctic.
Hundreds of world leaders will gather in the UK next month for the COP26 climate summit, where they will be under intense pressure to agree on significant action.
“The EU is committed to ensuring that oil, coal and gas stay in the ground, including in Arctic regions,” the EU executive’s proposal said, while acknowledging that the bloc itself still imports oil and gas extracted in the region.
“To this end, the Commission shall work with partners towards a multilateral legal obligation not to allow any further hydrocarbon reserve development in the Arctic or contiguous regions, nor to purchase such hydrocarbons if they were to be produced.”
The Arctic is one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change. During the last 50 years, it has warmed three times as rapidly as the rest of the earth, causing land and sea ice to melt, sea levels to rise, and permafrost to thaw.