Action Plan on Climate Change for the Barents Co-operation

The first Action Plan on Climate Change for the Barents Co-operation was endorsed at the meeting of the Finnish, Norwegian, Russian and Swedish Foreign Ministers in October 2013 and adopted by the Barents Environment Ministers in December 2013.

Norway led the work for the preparation of the Action Plan with input from consulting company Carbon Limits. The Plan contains concrete activities to be realized by the working groups under the Barents Euro-Arctic and Regional Councils. The activities contribute to the following main policy areas: mitigation, adaptation, research and outreach. Second edition of the Action Plan was prepared by the Working Group on Environment under the Norwegian Chairmanship and adopted by the Barents Environment Ministers in November 2017. The next update was made in 2021 under the supervision of the BEAC Committee of Seniour Officials and Finnish Chairmanship of the Working Group on Environment.

Conference (September 2009): Climate Change and Adaption Measures for the Barents Region

In 2017, the BEAC Working Group on Environment (WGE) under the Norwegian Chairmanship initiated the study "Barents 2050", conducted by the Finnish research institute VTT. The study aims to describe how the Barents region can make the transition to a low carbon society where the goals of Paris agreement on climate change are fulfilled. The goal is to identify challenges, risks and opportunities for the main economic sectors in the region, and how the Barents region can contribute to achieving the goals of the Paris agreement.

Regional Climate Strategies and projects in the Barents region

Regional Climate Change Strategies are tools to mitigate and adapt to climate change. They can serve to consolidate the efforts of different stakeholders in the public and private sectors and help in achieving national and international goals. Regional climate change strategies have already been established in many parts of the Barents region.

  • Climate Smart project under the BEAC Working Group on Environment conducted a survey and organized a workshop in autumn 2014 to share the experiences from the strategy work between the regions that already have established a strategy with the regions that are currently starting to outline their strategies. The results of the project are available here.
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry of Arkhangelsk region is leading the strategy work in the Russian part of the Barents region and has formed an inter-regional working group on the issue. Information on events organized by the region: Climate change session in Arkhangelsk, December 2014: Minutes | Presentation
  • The Joint Working Group on Education and Research conducted a survey in autumn 2014 among its member universities. Active research, teaching and awareness raising activities were held in the universities. More coordination and joint projects between the universities with the other working groups under BEAC is recalled by the group. The results of the survey can be found here.
  • The Working Group on Economic Co-operation highlights that the regional co-operation can contribute to minimizing the negative effects of climate change. In 2015, the Barents Forest Sector Network under the Working Group on Economic Co-operation organised a Forest Forum on sustainable use of forests, including climate aspects. Read more about the Forest Forum here.
  • For Indigenous peoples climate change and land-use pressures from new economic activities have profound effects on the traditional livelihoods of the northern indigenous peoples. The Association of World Reindeer Herders, an observer to the Barents Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, has conducted a project called EALLIN – Reindeer Herding Youth under the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group. Climate change was one of the main themes discussed with regards of the future of the reindeer herding. A new project proposal including elements like climate change, food culture and health of the youth has been submitted to the Arctic Council. WGIP follows closely the development of these projects.
  • Climate change in Lapland’s nature – what can we do? is an exhibition produced by the Lapland Regional Museum. It raises awareness about climate change and its effect on biodiversity and ecological balance in northernmost Europe. The Russian-English version of the exhibition, produced under Barents co-operation, started its tour inSaint Petersburg on February 10, 2015. Next stops were held in the Barents region in Karelia and in Murmansk.

Inventories of Emissions

Reduction of emissions of short lived climate pollutants (black carbon, methane and others) may contribute effectively to reducing the rate of climate change in the Arctic, also in the short-term. The Action Plan on Climate Change recommends Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden to make an inventory of short-lived climate pollutants within their territories in the Barents region.

Black carbon, which is a component of soot, originates from non-complete combustion. It is not a greenhouse gas but has a significant warming potential via sunlight absorbtion. In addition to climate effect, it worsens the air quality and has significant implications for human health. Residential biomass combustion, diesel vehicles and shipping are the main sources of black carbon.

  • The Norwegian Environment Agency has produced a report on black carbon and methane in the Barents region. The report includes not only information on emissions but also a calculation of the climate effects and, moreover, suggestions to reduce that effect. The report also provides methodological guidance for conducting of the inventories in regional level.