Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Arctic Ocean Trade Routes

Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons on 17th March 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Opposition Whip (Commons)

What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the development of new trade routes across the Arctic ocean.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

Climate change is the greatest threat facing the Arctic, and it is driving other changes there too. The reduction in summer sea ice cover in the Arctic has the potential to increase international shipping activity in the Arctic; however, hostile conditions and the lack of infrastructure will make commercial operations difficult for a considerable time. The UK cross-Government Arctic network met in January and discussed issues related to shipping and environmental protection in the Arctic ocean.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Opposition Whip (Commons)

There are huge economic advantages, particularly for the far east, in these lanes opening up, but that will come at huge environmental cost. Will the Minister explain what discussions have been had through the United Nations about how we ensure the protection and preservation of such an important pristine natural environment?

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. It is vital that the world comes together to take renewed action to limit global warming to 1.5°. There are 70-plus UK institutions engaged in Arctic research. The UK’s research station at Svalbard in Norway celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020. We are doing a huge amount of work in this area.