Thursday 30. March 2023

"We need to cater more to the Eco System"

Head of the Icelandic Climate Council, Halldór Þorgeirsson, visited students taking the Marine Protected Area Management course this morning, for an informal talk. Halldór was attending a conference by the Icelandic Forest Service held in Ísafjörður yesterday and took the opportunity to visit UW before heading back. 

Halldór was appointed head of the Icelandic Climate Council by then environmental minister, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, in 2018 but before that he was Senior Director for Intergovernmental Affairs at the UN Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn. So, he is the right person to talk to about the progress of taking action to slow down climate change. 

The students were discussing why it's taken such a long time for the world to respond, like reducing CO2 emissions and one of the things that Halldór pointed out was that the impact isn't evenly distributed around the globe. "The ones that get hit the hardest are the people who have maybe never heard of climate change, they don't drive cars and haven't contributed to the problem, but would benefit the most from the actions of countries where emission is high."

Which is why it's so important that the UN is involved and assists nations, says Halldór, "to see the bigger picture and connect the dots" when it comes to understanding the eco system.

He recalled that initially, when Iceland was beginning to negotiate its role in reducing CO2 emissions, Icelanders were guarding the countrie's marine resources which it had fought so hard for, e.g. in the cod wars, but during the time Halldor has been working on this topic, he's seen a "growing realisation of the eco system in the ocean. Iceland has been focusing too much on harvesting but needs to invest more in how the eco system works and cater to it. Responsibility is to not take things to the limit," Halld'or explained and said that he's noticed that people have started connecting the dots, which was a good note to end the talk on and allow the future of marine protected area management to get back to their studies. 


After an interesting talk
After an interesting talk
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