The European Parliament called for a ban on oil drilling in the icy Arctic waters of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), the Parliament said in a statement on Thursday.
The Parliament voted on a resolution Thursday that calls for a ban on oil drilling in the Arctic claiming that the use of fossil fuels will further accelerate climate change.
The Parliament argued that climate change is bringing new environmental and security challenges to the Arctic, as the melting ice cap opens up new navigation and fishing routes, and competition for its natural resources heats up.
The resolution was passed by 483 votes to 100, with 37 abstentions.
The Members of Parliament (MEPs) urged for measures to protect the vulnerable Arctic ecosystem, ban oil drilling there and keep it a low-tension and cooperation area.
"The Arctic region is very sensitive and vulnerable," co-rapporteur Sirpa Pietikainen, was quoted as saying.
"If we destroy this area by using the resources there unsustainably, we will not only be destroying a unique region but also accelerating climate change and polluting a source of clean water. The effects on global fish stocks would also be catastrophic,“ Pietikainen added.
EP co-rapporteur Urmas Paet also said that the geopolitical importance of the Arctic is growing and the main goal should be to keep the region as a low-tension area and prevent its militarization.
MEPs also noted the increased presence of Russian forces in the Arctic, which by 2015 “had established at least six new bases north of the Arctic Circle, including six deep-water ports and 13 airfields.”
They also highlighted China’s interest in accessing new shipping routes and energy resources.
By Ebru Sengul