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COVID-19 in the Arctic: A Green and Just Recovery
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The Arctic

Consisting of deep ocean covered by drifting pack ice and surrounded by continents and archipelagos around the Earth's North Pole, the Arctic is the planet's largest and least fragmented inhabited region.

Why the Arctic matters

Home to millions
Warming faster than anywhere else in the world
Global interest is growing as ice melts
Eight countries, global significance
Vast resources are becoming available

Where we work

What's new


Shell says one thing and does another when it comes to cleaning up their act in the Arctic

Since mid-September, we have seen Royal Dutch Shell say they will do one thing, while behind the scenes, do the opposite. On September 21, 2020, one of the world’s largest oil producers confirmed they plan to cut as much as 40 per cent of their costs in oil and gas drilling to shift their focus to renewable energy. Meanwhile, Shell applied to consolidate 18 of its offshore oil leases in Alaska’s West Harrison Bay, in order to begin drilling in 2023.

Published 29 September 2020


IMO must close loopholes to stop world’s dirtiest fuel polluting Arctic waters

Ottawa, Canada – Huge loopholes in a proposed international shipping agreement means vulnerable marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of Arctic peoples will continue to be threatened by spills from heavy fuel oil (HFO). The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is expected to finalize a ban on HFO in Arctic waters next month, but the regulation is full of waivers and exemptions.

Published 15 October 2020

From The Circle

COVID-19 disrupts Arctic beach clean-ups

For nearly two decades, with support from the governor of Svalbard, passengers on Arctic expedition cruises have been helping with clean-up efforts in the Arctic—and the industry as a whole has been working to enhance these efforts since 2018. But with almost no expedition cruises operating during the coronavirus pandemic, this will be the first year that tourists cannot help retrieve litter from Arctic beaches. As Melissa Nacke writes, not only has the pandemic hindered clean-up efforts—it is creating new sources of pollution, such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer bottles. And this growing trash problem will be compounded by the return of single-use items that the expedition cruise industry has worked hard to eliminate.