Mattias Goldman, Fores institute, gave a fun and inspirational start to day 3 of the Jokkmokk winter conference. If we want to solve the climate problem we have to work with transport, says Mattias. A warmer climate will affect the north of Sweden in many ways, however, fear of loosing something is not effective for a change of peoples behaviour. People move from denial to despair and we need to find the active drivers that will make people act/react. According to Mattias, we thus may have to change the way we communicate sustainability. One of Sweden’s climate goals is fossil-independent transport fleet year 2030. But was does fossil independent mean? Mattias recommends us to read the government report FFF-utredningen.
Sharing good experiences from around the world is important – “We can do it if they can do it” is a very good argument, says Mattias. Sharing good practices is one of the main aims of the JWC. Kenneth Gyllensting from the Swedish Eco-Municipalities shared good examples from around Sweden. The Eco-municipality concept in Sweden started in Övertorneå in 1983 and in 1995 Secom was formed. Today there are 290 Eco-municipalities in Sweden, and the concept is spreading to countries around the world.
Embassies from arctic countries have been represented at the JWC every year. Today diplomats Michael Sullivan (US), Patrick Hébert (Canada) and Frode Solberg (Norway) gave their countries’ views on transport and mobility in the circumpolar North. All three countries seem to have a plan; Anna Hövenmark concluded half-way. However, it was less clear if the plan was to completely move away from fossil fuel. According to Sullivan, there is not one perfect solution, instead there will be an energy mix including fossil. Solberg says they are looking forward to be fossil-independent, but it won’t happen tomorrow. We are making progress, look at where we were 10 year ago and where we are today, says Hébert.
On the questions if it is necessary take up the oil in the arctic, the panel seemed to think so. They all agreed it has to be done sustainably with best technology. There is no priority between economy and environment. It is a political question! We all have a responsibility, Sullivan concludes.
Jokkmokk municipality’s work on energy efficiency involves Energy Performance Contracting. EPC is a public private partnership where the company (in this case Schneider) guarantees the client energy efficiency whilst ensuring technical functionality of facilities. Jokkmokk municipality is showing good results in the project so far, thus freeing up resources for maintenance, representatives for the municipality and Schneider informed us.
Biofuel vs electricity in the transport sector was debated by Ari Lampinen (Finish biogas association) and Karl Bergman (Vattenfall) with Mattias Goldman as a moderator. The pros and cons of bio-fuel and as well as electricity are plentiful and by the end of the discussion the audience’s vote went to a mixture of both, i.e. we need both in roughly equal amounts.
The day is ending with round-table discussion before inauguration of the Winter market.
The theme of the conference this year is Make it happen: Eco-mobility of the North. David Cooper, Toronto, set the scene with an inspiring talk on sustainable transport in Canadian cities.
Today (day 2 of JWC) started with Lidia Suokko presenting the Green Highway project and the vision to create a fossil-free transport corridor (by 2030) from coast to coast between Trondheim in Norway and Sundsvall in Sweden. In 2012 the Zero Rally – a climate car rally race – took place on the Green highway. There is a Green highway Buyers guide for electrical and plug in hybrid cars for those of you who are thinking of getting a green car. Or why not an electric tuk-tuk instead of a car?
Lassi Heininen, University of Lapland in Finland – has talked at the conference many times before. This year Lassi talked about challenges and possibilities in transport and mobility in the circumpolar North. Last year 200 ships passed through the Atlantic-Arctic Pacific Ocean corridor, but traffic is due to increase as the Arctic ice is melting. Choosing the north sea route vs the Suez canal saves distances up to 50%, which means saving of time, fuel, money and environment. An ”Arctic paradox” – a challenge for sustainability and “Ecomobility”, says Lassi. The big challenge, Lassi says, is how to show to decision makers that the price is too high for exploiting the arctic. We need a school of critical geopolitics!
“Lessons from previous generations” was the topic of the talk by Josefina Lundgren Skerk, Swedish Sami Parliament. Driven by her passion for nature, environment and human rights, Josefina was one of a group of 16 people to ski to the North Pole last year. The group wanted to draw attention to the problem of exploitation in the Arctic. We got the here her inspiring story. Josefina wishes we would stop valuing nature as a resource to be exploited.
After her talk, Josefina took part in the panel discussion together with the politicians Jonas Sjöstedt (Party leader Left party Sweden), Jonas Eriksson (MP Green party Sweden), Helena Lindahl (MP Centre party Sweden) and Johan Johansson (MP Moderate party Sweden). First question from Anna Hövenmark was “Will the Norrbottnia railway be built, and if so when?” The panel more or less agreed that it will be built, but the opinion on when it should be built varied. Jonas Eriksson would build it next year whereas Johan Johansson didn’t see it as a priority.
Road traffic is not bearing its’ costs today. Sjöstedt says reducing long distance heavy traffic through taxation and investment in railways is important. We have to dare to do it otherwise we will fail, he says.
However, as Lindahl said, in rural areas we will always be dependent on cars and hence the discussion has to be about fuel as well. Eriksson added that the big problem is car driving in the cities not the few cars in the rural areas. Nevertheless, we in the rural parts also want to reduce our carbon footprint and be less dependence on fossil fuel. The discussion then went on to mines and Arctic exploitation.
In the afternoon we were divided up into workshops and the day ended with a presentation of the history of the conference and Wolfgang Mehl presenting the results from the NNCC project, which JWC has been a part of.