Beacons of hope for threatened Norwegian arctic

10 March 2017

Beacons, traditionally lit by communities along the coast of Norway to warn of imminent danger, will light up across Europe today to highlight the renewed threat to Norway's pristine arctic coastlines from the oil industry.

The areas off the coast of the arctic islands of Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja are home Orcas, humpback and sperm whales, the world's largest stock of cod spawn and one of Europe's biggest nesting sites for seabirds. They are the last remaining marine areas in Norway off limits to the oil industry, which could change this year when the 20-year moratorium on drilling in the area expires.

Silje Lundberg, president of Friends of the Earth Norway, said: "Despite repeated moratoriums and community resistance, the oil industry continues to push for access to these vulnerable areas and the oil and gas they contain. We are raising the alarm – Europe needs to free itself from fossil fuels, and the Norwegian government needs to protect pristine areas of the arctic from the destructive presence of oil and gas companies."

Friends of the Earth Europe projected imagery from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster onto Norway House in Brussels, turning it into a virtual beacon and warning of the dangers of fossil fuel extraction, especially in pristine environments like the Arctic.

Almost one third of Europe's gas comes from Norway, along with significant amounts of oil, at a time when Europe needs be moving away from fossil fuels. Europe's biggest oil and gas companies – Shell, BP, Total, Eni, and Repsol – are all active in Norway.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Fossil fuels are a thing of the past, and the climate cannot afford their continued use. Our network is combining its strength to campaign for a future free from fossil fuels – this means a 100% renewable, energy-efficient Europe by 2030."

Friends of the Earth Europe today launched its new 'Fossil Free Europe' campaign. The campaign unites groups across Europe working to campaign for just transition to a 100% renewable, no nuclear, super energy-efficient, zero-fossil-fuel Europe. The campaign calls for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and infrastructure, and for urgent action to ensure Europe's energy system is free of fossil fuels by 2030.