Greta Thunberg writes letter to Norway PM on Arctic drilling

The teen environment activist Greta Thunberg has sent a letter to Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg calling on her to delay a decision on shifting the ice edge in the Norwegian Arctic.

Greta Thunberg writes letter to Norway PM on Arctic drilling
Greta Thunberg at a Youth Strike 4 Climate" protest march in Brussels a few weeks before the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
In the letter, which was co-signed by 13 other child activists, Thunberg argues that any new oil and gas drilling in Norway would contravene the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and demands that Norway's government consult with children before moving forward. 
“Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Norway has agreed to listen to the voices of children on matters affecting their right to life,” the letter reads. 
“In compliance with Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [the] petitioners respectfully request that any Norwegian decision determining the status of the marginal ice zone and any delegation attending COP26  include knowledgeable child activists.” 
The letter was drafted by the international law firm Hausfeld, which earlier this month lodged a legal complaint with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, on behalf of Thunberg and 15 other activists. 
The complaint was directed at Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey, which the petitioners said were the biggest climate polluters out of the 46 countries that have adopted an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which allows for such complaints. 
According to the complaint, they have promoted fossil fuels and failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions for decades, despite knowing of the risk of climate change. 
In the letter, the activists said that the decisions Norway takes over the ice edge and future rounds of oil and gas exploration would show whether it was committed or not to the Paris Agreement. 
“This is a critical test of whether Norway understands and is committed to its obligation to be on a pathway to limit global warming to no more than 1.5C,” the letter read. 
“Norway is confronted with the choice of expanding and declaring the marginal ice zone a no-go area for offshore activity, or succumbing to the ill-conceived interests of oil and gas companies.” 

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Germany could ‘lose last glaciers in 10 years’

Germany's glaciers are melting at a faster pace than feared and the country could lose its last ice caps in 10 years, an alarming report said Thursday.

Germany could 'lose last glaciers in 10 years'
The glacier on Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, covered in snow. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

“The days of glaciers in Bavaria are numbered. And even sooner than expected,” said Thorsten Glauber, environment minister of the southern region, home to Germany’s ice-capped Alps.

“The last Bavarian Alpine glacier could be gone in 10 years.” Scientists had previously estimated the glaciers would be around until the middle of the century.

But the melting has accelerated dramatically over the last years. Located in the Zugspitze area and in the Berchtesgaden Alps, Germany’s five glaciers have lost about two-thirds of their volume in the past decade.

Their surface areas have also shrunk by a third – equivalent to around 36 football fields.

Issuing a stark warning over global warming, Glauber stressed that the glaciers are “not only a monument of Earth’s history in the form of snow and ice”.

“They are thermometers for the state of our climate,” he added.

A global study released Wednesday found nearly all the world’s glaciers are losing mass at an ever increasing pace, contributing to more than a fifth of global sea level rise this century.

An international team of researchers analysing images taken by a NASA satellite said that between 2000-2019, the world’s glaciers lost an average of 267 billion tonnes of ice each year — enough to submerge Switzerland under six metres of water every year.

The report came as meteorologists in Germany said this April has been the coldest in four decades.

Like elsewhere in Europe, Germany has recorded wild weather in recent years. After a winter in which temperatures plunged well below freezing in February, the mercury rose to 25.9 degrees on April 1 before slipping more than 15 degrees for much of the rest of the month.

Environmentalists blame global warming for the shifts and have been urging governments to do more to halt the damaging trend.

READ ALSO: How Germany is reacting to top court’s landmark ruling

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement countries aim to keep the global temperature increase to under two degrees Celsius, and ideally closer to 1.5 degrees, by 2050.

Climate activists scored a landmark victory Thursday in a case against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government as the Constitutional Court ruled Berlin’s environment protection plan insufficient.