Fuelling pollution

norway's plan to increase coal mining from Arctic Svalbard has invited the ire of environmentalists. The greens say that coal is the most polluting source of power and can wreak havoc on the islands' fragile ecosystem.

Recently, the Norwegian government presented a Bill for opening commercial operations at the Svea Nord coalfield on Svalbard by giving the state-owned mining company, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani, US $16.70 million in fresh equity.

Truls Gulowsen, climate campaigner with international environment group Greenpeace, says, "Coal mining at Svea Nord could harm local wildlife such as polar bears, walruses and arctic foxes. There would be weekly or daily airplane transport of miners, direct emissions in the area from a power station run on diesel fuel, noise, dust and ships running in and out of the fjord to the Svea Nord harbour.

Rasmus Hansson, chief executive of the Norwegian branch of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said the 2.5 million tonnes of coal exports from Svalbard would be about 10 per cent of Norway's total CO 2 emissions when burned.

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