Svartisen is soon going to be transformed into exclusive ice cubes – if the project is realized. (Photo: Guy Lebègue/ Wikimedia Commons)
Norwegian environmental organizations think that the plan to make ice cubes from the shrinking Svartisen glacier is absurd and describes the project as “almost grotesque”. The product that will end up in drinks in exclusive restaurants and bars abroad is receiving public support.
The Svartisen glacier in Nordland, Northern-Norway, covers an area of approximately 370 square kilometers and is Norway’s second largest.
In recent years, most glaciers have been significantly reduced and the withdrawal has been dramatic: The Engabreen glacier, which is part of Svartisen, has shrunk by 300 meters (984 ft) the last eleven years.
– It seems very strange that the government is providing support chopping up Svartisen when we know that it is shrinking because of climate change, says Secretary General of WWF-Norway Nina Jensen to NRK Nordland.
Nordland County Municipality and Norwegian State Forests provide a grant of 250,000 kroner for test drilling and extraction of ice cubes. The hope is that the ice cubes will contribute to new jobs and promote the Nordland region.
– I do not think it is right to create short-term jobs by eating up the last parts of a glacier which is about to disappear, says Jensen.
Also senior advisor on Arctic affairs at the environmental organization Bellona, Sigurd Enge, is skeptical about the project.
The Engabreen glacier has withdrawn by 300 meters the last eleven years. (Photo: TV2)
– If we are talking about sixty workers that will industrially extract ice cubes from Svartisen, I fear the consequences.
Enge believes it will require a lot of energy to keep the product cold and that transportation to other parts of the world probably is not going to be particularly environmentally friendly.
– It will be imperative to carry out a thorough impact assessment to see how this project will affect the glacier’s condition and development before getting started with large-scale production, he says.
Behind the project is entrepreneur Geir L. Olsen. He says the project from the start has taken the environment into account, and is pointing out that they only are going to use two snow groomers with drilling equipment on the glacier.
Olsen says that they intend to extract ice that is about to calve and would melt anyway.
Text modified by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews