UPDATE: Voters booted Bjartmarz out of Icelandic politics in the general elections 12 May. But her track record is ugly and Icelandic nature will be smarting for a long time after her dark reign as Minister of the Environment. One of her final crimes against nature was to OK, against all scientific advise, a disastrous road scheme by lake Thingvallavatn in the Thingvellir National Park. This area is on the UNESCO World Heritage list for it’s unique nature. The plan is to build a motorway through the Gjábakka area, much too close to the lake. This road must be resisted and stopped. Read More
'Ecology' Tag Archive
See also: Alaska rattled by melting ice
Melting ice cap triggering earthquakes http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/20…
Oddur Sigurdsson, an Icelandic geologist who has undertaken studies of Iceland’s glaciers, said the nation’s glaciers are melting at record speed and may disappear completely after 200 years due to global warming.
“It is obvious judging by the data that we have that it is first and foremost caused by the heat in summer, which has increased considerably, especially in the last ten years,” Sigurdsson told RÚV.
Sigurdsson said he believed global warming is the gravest problem the human race has ever faced.
French geologist Jean-Marc Bouvier, who has undertaken studies of the Greenland ice cap, explained to RÚV that once the Arctic glaciers have disappeared the ocean surface will be nine meters higher than today and flood an area which is currently inhabited by one billion people.
Bouvier described this situation as a “meteorological time bomb” and said “the wick has already been lit.”
Apr 07 2007
Geologists suggested on March 24 that a volcano park should be established on Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland, which has the potential to become a major tourist attraction.
According to geologist Ásta Thorleifsdóttir, a volcano park on Reykjanes could be larger and have more variety than a similar volcano park in Hawaii, which attracts 3.3 million tourists every year, making USD billions in profits.
“We have much better access on Reykjanes. […] We have the international airport beside it and all these villages that can offer accommodation, entertainment, information, guidance, scientific knowledge and everything else that comes with it,” Thorleifsdóttir told RÚV.
Thorleifsdóttir has researched the volcano park in Hawaii, which is the largest of its kind and is considered the most noteworthy volcano park in the world.
Thorleifsdóttir said the geology of Reykjanes peninsula is unique. There is a lot of volcanic activity with numerous shield volcanoes, volcanic fissures, craters and hot springs.
“There are few places on earth like it. Only us who live close by don’t realize that if we want to show foreign tourists something unique we don’t have to go further than to Kleifarvatn and Krísuvík,” Thorleifsdóttir said.
Iceland’s path as either a wild green masterpiece or a mid-Atlantic industrially polluted backwater is to reach a significant junction tomorow, Saturday the 31st of March. Residents of Hafnarfjordur, SW of Reykjavik, will vote on whether they want their Alcan (Canadian Aluminium) smelter expanded into by far the biggest aluminium smelter seen in Iceland to date.
The smelter, which lies in the vicinity of Hafnarfjordur, in Straumsvik, currently has a capacity of being able to produce 180,000 metric tonnes of aluminium per year (mtpy.) Alcan wishes to turn this into an unbelievably massive 460,000 mtpy smelter.
Iceland’s current largest smelter asside from this, being built in Reydarfjordur, can produce a gigantic 322,000 mtpy of aluminium and is to be powered by damming the Central-Eastern of Icelands: the infamous Karahnjukar project.
If the smelter in Hafnarfjordur is to be enlarged then we will be facing the destruction of Iceland’s Central Southern Highlands – Langisjor, Kerlingarfjoll, Thjorsarver, the nether region of Thjorsa not to mention the geothermal fields in Reykjanes and so much more.
To anyone who has the opportunity to vote in this referendum, please vote to keep Iceland a wild and green masterpiece.
Mar 21 2007
21 March 2007
Brazilian environmental activists are charging that Brazilian environmental authorities and an Alcoa lead consortium planning construction of Barra Grande dam conspired to commit fraud in the awarding of an environmental license for the project. Members of Brazil’s Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAB) and environmentalists blockaded the access road to a stand of virgin forest slated for clearing before the filling of the reservoir. In all, 6,000 hectares of primary forests, including araucaria pines, in one of the richest remaining expanses of the threatened Atlantic Coast rainforest, would be flooded by the dam on the Pelotas river in Southern Brazil. A 2,000 hectare stand of virgin araucaria forests was somehow “omitted” in the project’s environmental studies. Local groups have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to annul the license awarded to Barra Grande, to require the consortium to carry out new studies evaluating the possibility of operating the reservoir at a lower level to avoid drowning the araucaria forests, and if this is deemed impossible, to order the demolition of the dam structure. Heavily-armed riot police have reportedly been sent to the area to disperse protestors. The consortium building Barra Grande includes the Pittsburgh-based Alcoa aluminum company (which contains Kathy Fuller, President of WWF-USA as a Board Member), MAB leader Soli da Silva says the mobilization will continue indefinitely. “We cannot permit that fraud and a ‘done deal’ become the rule on environmental licensing for hydroelectric projects in our country.” Please support these brave environmentalists at http://forests.org/action/brazil/ .
Tuesday March 13 2007
CanWest News Service
KEFLAVIK, Iceland – The Earth’s inner heat is so close to the surface on this windswept island that tourists bask in outdoor thermal pools even as the snow flies in late winter.
The heat attracts multinational companies, too, including Canadian-based Alcan. But they’re getting an increasingly chilly reception from the locals as they try to expand their business operations to take advantage of the abundant stores of inexpensive energy here.
“We don’t want to be the town with the biggest aluminum plant in all of Europe,” says Throstur Sverrisson, a longtime resident of the seaside community of Hafnarfjordur, where Alcan has run up against serious opposition.
The company plans to more that double the size of its existing smelter just outside Hafnarfjordur, one of four huge and controversial aluminum smelter projects. But a growing coalition of Icelanders is trying to halt the smelters, saying the government is sacrificing the island’s pristine environment to foreign companies.
They’re gearing up to make the smelters a major issue in the national election in May. And they’re taking aim at Alcan in a referendum March 31. Read More
Majority of Icelanders are Against the Expansion of the ALCAN Smelter and Favour More Environmental Protection
According to a new Gallup Capacent poll, conducted for the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA), 72.8% of Icelanders believe that political parties should place more focus on environmental protection.
When asked if political parties should give more attention to environmental protection, 37,2% answered that the parties should give a lot more attention to environmental protection, while 35,6% answered that the parties should give more attention to the topic.
22,6% Answered that they believed that environmental protection was receiving adequate attention, while 4,6% believed that environmental protection was receiving too much attention.
There was a noticeable difference in opinion between the sexes, with around 78% of women in favour of more environmental protection, with 67% of men answering the same way. Of 1350 people polled, 800 answered.
The New York Times
By SARAH LYALL
NORTH OF VATNAJOKULL GLACIER, Iceland — In the depths of winter there is almost nothing to see here but snow and rock: snow across the uneven, unearthly landscape, snow on the mist-shrouded mountains, snow stretching to what looks like the edge of the world.
But tucked into Iceland’s central highlands, where the Karahnjukar mountain meets two powerful rivers flowing north from Europe’s largest glacier, a nearly completed jigsaw of dams, tunnels and reservoirs has begun to reshape the wilderness.
This is the $3 billion Karahnjukar Hydropower Project, a sprawling enterprise to harness the rivers for electricity that will be used for a single purpose: to fuel a new aluminum smelter owned by Alcoa, the world’s largest aluminum company. It has been the focus of the angriest and most divisive battle in recent Icelandic history. Read More
Already beset by the devastating effects of a global warming caused by the heavy industrialisation of the planet, the glacial island of Greenland is now under an even more immediate industrial threat: this time by the aluminium industry. Norsk Hydro recently announced that it is considering plans to build a 300,000 tonne and 500 Megawatt primary aluminium smelter in Greenland, powered by the damming of a yet undisclosed part of the island. Read More