Articles Archive

Mar 05 2011
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Alcoa: Where Will the New Dams be Built?

By Jaap Krater

Last spring ALCOA released the first draft of the joint environmental impact assessment for the proposed Bakki smelter and power plants at Krafla and Theistareykir. Recently Iceland’s National Planning Agency commented on the draft assessment in a damning commentary.

The agency stated that the environmental impacts of the project are high and cannot be mitigated. 17,000 ha of untouched wilderness will be affected. Greenhouse gas emissions of the project would constitute 14% of Iceland’s total. There is a great deal of uncertainty on the full impact of the planned power plants and particularly on how much geothermal energy can be sustainably produced. Finally, the assessed energy projects will not be able to fully power the smelter, with 140 MW of capacity missing.

This confirms three key points of critique on the smelter that we have been voicing for several years now. Read More

Mar 01 2011

Iceland, Denmark, Tunisia, Egypt, and Climate Justice

By Tord Björk

Social Forum Journey / Malmö-Belem-Istanbul

Abstract: This article looks at how the national mass protests against neoliberal regimes in Iceland, Tunisia, Egypt and other African and Arabic countries and the Wisconsin in the US are linked with the climate justice movement. Both national protests and the climate justice movement are developing unevenly. National protests in some hot spots, the climate campaigning more even all over the world. By looking at how countries like Denmark and its organized civil society acts it can be possible to understand how the struggle both for defensive goals and constructive solutions can strengthen each other by what lacked in Denmark but exists on the global level. That is solidarity against repression and building resistance which enables solutions uniting anti-neoliberal struggles in general and specific areas. Read More

Feb 26 2011
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After Iceland’s Financial Storm, Reykjavik 9 Gather Steam


In one of the most controversial trials in Iceland, four of a group popularly known as the “Reykjavik 9” have been sentenced. A most fascinating, and what many have also termed “absurd” case in the country’s recent history has seen nine peaceful protesters accused of threatening the sovereignty of the Parliament; being charged with article 100 of the country’s penal code which deals with acts of terrorism– one that carries a sentence from a year to life in prison.

Reykjavik District Court announced its ruling of the case on February 16, amidst tremendous national furore, as the Reykjavik 9 waited for their verdict on “attacking” the Icelandic Parliament, Althingi, in December 2008. All nine defendants were acquitted of their initial charges. However, four were found guilty of rioting and were slapped with sentences ranging from fines to conditional prison sentences up to 4 months. Read More

Feb 26 2011

“These Nine People were the Perfect Culprits”


Since the verdict declared on February 16, support for the Reykjavik 9 has been growing, and the case seems far from over; the question now remains whether the four who have been sentenced will appeal to the Supreme Court of Iceland against the judgement by the Reykjavik District Court.

The Fresh Outlook’s Managing Editor, Shayoni Sarkar, continues to speak to key figures surrounding the Reykjavik 9. In an exclusive interview, Saving Iceland, a network of people from different nationalities championing the causes of the country, speaks about the Reykjavik 9. Read More

Feb 24 2011

The Reykjavik 9 and a New Era in the Struggle Against Repression

By Tord Björk

The Social Forum Journey

Is there a possibility that we can see a new era in the struggle against repression? While repression according to many reports are growing in Europe and the world with widening social gaps there are also some changes in the way repression is organized and counteracted. Rightly addressed the situation gives new possibilities for solidarity and uniting movements that hitherto were kept separate thus building a base for democratizing society. Read More

Feb 15 2011
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The Þjórsá Farce Continues – Are the Dams Planned for Aluminium Production?

A decision by Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Environment, to reject the construction of a dam in Urriðafoss waterfall in Þjórsá river, has been ruled illegal by Iceland’s supreme court. Whilst Svavardóttir and her comrades in government accept the ruling, and say the Minstry of Environment now has to look into the case and examine the legal environment, the right wing opposition in parliament, along with heavy industry lobbyists, demand the ministers’ resignation, claiming that she has delayed all construction in the area for two years. People living by Þjórsá have announced that these statements are wrong and ask for examples, while a MP accuses Landsvirkjun (the national energy company) of bribery. Read More

Feb 11 2011

The Real Facts Regarding Mark Kennedy’s Infiltration of Iceland’s Environmental Movement

The recent spate of articles about the police spy Mark Kennedy that have appeared in the Guardian and elsewhere have greatly exaggerated the minor role of Kennedy in the Icelandic environmental movement to the point of claiming that he was a key figure pivotal in founding the movement. This may serve the immediate purpose of dramatizing the Kennedy saga but is in fact nonsense. Several weeks ago Saving Iceland sent detailed clarifications to the Guardian regarding the inaccuracies published in the paper. However, the Guardian has thus far not corrected their reporting, apart from a limited disclaimer in Amelia Hill’s article ‘Mark Kennedy played key role in forming green movement in Iceland’ where Hill states that “Saving Iceland […] disputes the level of Kennedy’s involvement.”

In other articles that are concerned with Mark Kennedy’s involvement with British groups the Guardian several times quotes British activists in saying that Kennedy did not act as a strategist or decision maker in their movement, but that he made him himself useful as a driver and an energetic facilitator in day to day logistics. One source is reported by the Guardian in even going so far to say that Kennedy was not considered the sharpest knife in the box. This would make the Guardians’ claims about his supposed vital role in Saving Iceland surprising to say the least. Read More

Feb 06 2011

Alcoa Still Wants to Build Smelter in Bakki – Questions Concerning Energy Unanswered

Alcoa still plans to build an aluminium smelter in Bakki by Húsavík, north-Iceland, according to the newspaper Fréttablaðið. This contradicts recent news, published in the business newspaper Viðskiptablaðið, saying that Alcoa was about to withdraw the idea due to the government’s alleged unwillingness to go ahead with it. Questions about energy to run the smelter are still unanswered but recent comments from the National Planning Agency, concerning the project’s joint Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), state that enough geothermal energy can not be produced for the smelter; and certainly not in a sustainable way. Read More

Jan 31 2011

Century Aluminum Energy Questions

Century Aluminum (Nordural) intends to build an aluminium smelter at Helguvík for producing 250.000 tpy, using 435 MW of electricity. At one point the intended size grew to 600.000 tpy and 625 MW of electricity but those plans have been cancelled. The first phase of the smelter was expected to start in 2010 and the 250.000 ton should be reached in 2013. Now there are already some big structures at the smelter site but no energy has been produced and moreover, there is no energy available.

Sigmundur Einarsson, a geologist at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, has written some articles on this matter (in Icelandic). He has tried, amongst a number of other environmental scientists,  to warn the Icelandic government about a new kind of collapse, an energy collapse due to following far too optimistic speculation of irresponsible people. Read More

Jan 29 2011
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Victory in India! – The Tribes of Orissa Conquer British Mining Giant Vedanta

These news about Dongria Kondh’s victory against Vedanta are not recent, but from August 2010. Unfortunately we were not able to publish the story until now.

Miriam Rose

After 13 years of continuous battle, the people’s movements to save the Niyamgiri hills from bauxite mining have won their land and livelihood back from the jaws of extinction. Niyamgiri is one of a series of threatened bauxite capped mountains in Orissa. On August 21st 2010 a review of the Vedanta mining project carried out by the Ministry of the Environment exposed the company’s “total contempt for the law”, having violated a number of environmental regulations, and revealed “an appalling degree of collusion” by local government officials with Vedanta. A few days later Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh called a halt to the project. Read More