The Crown Prince speaks at Arctic Circle Assembly
"The well-being of the Arctic is critical for our existence," His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon said in his remarks during the opening the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik today.
The Arctic Circle Assembly is the largest annual gathering focused on international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic. The event gathers more than 2 000 participants from 60 countries and is held every October in the Harpa concert hall and conference centre in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.
Climate change in the Arctic
The Arctic and the tropics are the regions where global climate change is having the greatest impact, the Crown Prince told the assembly.
"When the ice melts in the far north, the sea level rises in the tropical south," he said, noting that he had seen the phenomenon for himself on journeys to the island states of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji in the Pacific in 2019.
The Crown Prince gained first-hand insight into the impacts of the melting ice on Greenland when he crossed the Greenland Ice Sheet last summer. He took part in an expedition led by UiT The Arctic University of Norway to raise awareness and disseminate knowledge about polar history and of the vital scientific research taking place in the Arctic.
Crown Prince Haakon addresses the opening of the Arctic Circle Assembly. Photo: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court
At the Reykjavik event he pointed out that reducing the effects of climate change in the Arctic will require cutting greenhouse gas emissions both globally and locally.
"This is our common responsibility," he said.
Read the Crown Prince’s speech to the Arctic Circle Assembly
Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Canadian Governor General Mary Simon, Estonian President Alar Karis and Greenlandic Prime Minister Múte Bourup Egede also delivered remarks during the assembly opening.
Arctic Circle Assembly. On stage: Iceland’s former Prime Minister and founder of Arctic Circle, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, and Mary Simon, Governor general of Canada. Photo: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court.
Cooperation in the Arctic
Crown Prince Haakon’s three-day visit to Iceland officially started on Wednesday. As Arctic countries, Norway and Iceland share many common interests, especially in the areas of sustainable ocean management, climate and the environment.
Ahead of today’s opening, the Crown Prince observed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Norway and Iceland that continues a 10-year-long Arctic research collaboration.
State secretary Eivind Vad Petersson and State secretary Martin Eyjólfsson signed the Memorandum of Understanding continuing a 10-year-long Arctic research collaboration between Iceland and Norway. Foto: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court.
Crown Prince Haakon also attended the traditional breakfast meeting that the Norwegian Embassy holds for Norwegian participants of the Arctic Circle Assembly and invited Icelandic guests. The Crown Prince spoke during the meeting. Other speakers included Anja Márjá Nystø Keskitalo of the Sámi Council and Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir.
Read the Crown Prince’s speech from the breakfast meeting
Storing CO2 underground
One of the purposes of the Crown Prince’s visit is to promote business cooperation between Norway and Iceland, particularly in efforts to advance the green transition.
This afternoon the Crown Prince visited the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant, which uses pioneering carbon capture and storage technology to reduce emissions from geothermal energy production.
CEO Edda Aradóttir from Carbfix gave Crown Prince Haakon an introduction to the pioneering technology. Photo: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court
The technology developed under Iceland’s Carbfix project involves speeding up the natural process whereby CO2 binds to metal oxides in many rock types, including basalt. When CO2 is dissolved in water and injected into basaltic bedrock, the transformation into stable, solid carbonates can take as little as two years. In this way, CO2 is bound to a new substance (rock) that remains deep underground.
It is estimated that more than 400 billion tonnes of CO2 can be stored in the bedrock in and around Iceland. By comparison, total world emissions of CO2 in 2021 amounted to 36.2 billion tonnes. So far, Carbfix has injected approximately 83 000 tonnes into the bedrock.
Valborg Lundegaard of the Norwegian company Aker Carbon Capture also participated in the visit to the power plant. Aker Carbon Capture entered into a partnership with Carbfix in 2021.
During the visit the Crown Prince was able to enter Carbfix’s igloo-shaped facility from which CO2 is pumped into the ground.
The Crown Prince’s visit to Iceland will conclude on Friday with a breakfast for members of the business community at the Norwegian Ambassador’s residence, where the main focus will be on advancing the green transition. Icelandic Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson will take part in the breakfast along with representatives of the Norwegian and Icelandic business communities.
There is an increasing demand for green solutions not just in Europe, but throughout the world. The Nordic countries have a common ambition to play a leading role in promoting global restructuring, competitiveness and sustainability. Norway holds the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2022, and its programme seeks to promote a strong – and greener – Nordic region. Iceland will assume the presidency in 2023.
This evening, the Norwegian Ambassador’s residence is the venue for a dinner that Ambassador Aud Lise Norheim is hosting for Crown Prince Haakon and some 20 young adults from Iceland and Norway.
The Crown Prince attended a dinner for young adults from Iceland and Norway hosted by Ambassador Aud Lise Norheim. Photo: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court
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