The findings from the biggest Nordic research cooperation programme to date were presented in Stockholm on November 18 at the closing conference of the Nordic Top-level Research Initiative. Focusing on climate change, the initiative points to a range of solutions aimed both at reducing the magnitude of climate change and at adapting to its inevitable consequences. We have taken a look at some of these new Nordic climate solutions.
Young scientists, PhDs and postdoctoral research associates have been instrumental in the scientific work conducted within NorMER, a Nordic research project on marine ecosystems funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Top-level Research Initiative. According to Scientific Director Jason D. Whittington, Nordic co-operation provides these early-carrier researchers with exceptional insights into interdisciplinary research on climate change.
As the Top-level Research Initiative, the largest joint Nordic research initiative to date, is coming to an end, NordForsk, Nordic Energy Research and Nordic Innovation are launching a new collaboration on green growth. It will focus research on societal transformations and sustainable energy development, and promote commercially viable innovation.
Nordic schoolchildren now have the opportunity to compete on their ability to save, electricity, heating and water, in the “Great Nordic Climate Challenge” promoted by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The challenge, which is based on a new educational platform, will be launched on Nordic Climate Day, 11 November 2014.
Education is a natural platform for increasing awareness of the need for sustainable development and thus one of the Nordic Prime Ministers’ green growth priorities. Read about benchmarking of sustainability performance in Nordic higher education institutions and a pilot on further education for sustainable development.
The Biophilia multimedia universe, created by Björk, has been developed into an inspiring educational programme that uses creativity to spark children’s interest in the sciences and music. It is being implemented in a range of Nordic schools as part of NordBio, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ bioeconomy initiative.
One of the main ambitions of NordBio, a large bioeconomy programme launched under the Icelandic chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers, is to promote innovative use of the region’s biological resources. Key focus areas are food product innovation, sustainability in the food industry and increased biomass production, with emphasis on creating value from underutilised resources and by-products.
Climate change is expected to cause considerable change for the Nordic primary industries in the coming decades. Global warming is already resulting in spatial shifts in ecosystems, as well as in the primary industries’ activities. Suitable agriculture areas shift northwards, a longer growing season makes way for new tree species in the Nordic forestry industry, and major fish stocks are migrating into Nordic waters. A new Nordic report looks into these changes and their consequences.
Should the developing bioeconomy be considered as part of the problem or part of the solution with regards to climate change? How does the one affect the other, and what can the Nordic region do to promote more sustainable production? We brought together two of the region’s leading experts on these matters, Professor Jørgen E. Olesen from Aarhus University and Matís Director Sveinn Margeirsson, to discuss the bioeconomy and climate change.
The transformation towards a sustainable society requires not only technological progress and innovative solutions, but also a strong cultural sector that inspires change in consumption and production. Culture is the fourth pillar of the Nordic countries’ sustainability approach, complementing its economic, political and ecological dimensions.
In a resource constrained world, the move from a linear system, in which raw materials are used up, to a circular one in which they are reused, is an imperative. The Nordic Prime Ministers’ green growth projects address this challenge and a number of new reports present concrete solutions in areas such as plastic and textiles, sustainable building and ecodesign. The latest results from the initiative were presented at Green Week in Brussels in June.
The demand for food and energy is growing dramatically. Bioeconomy could be an answer to this challenge. But a biobased economy requires increased cooperation across borders and sectors. The Nordic Council of Ministers would like to offer a path towards that change by facilitating the formation of new networks and partnerships in the Baltic Sea region.
Renowned for their unique ability to collaborate on culture, research, innovation and policy, the Nordic countries build their cross-border activities on networking and knowledge sharing. The Nordic Council of Ministers and its institutions are key actors in the work of linking the countries together into regional networks – an undertaking which also extends to the Baltic and Arctic regions, EU and other venues of international cooperation.
Bioeconomy will be at the centre of Nordic cooperation in 2014. NordBio, the largest of three programmes under Iceland’s chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers, is aimed at optimising utilisation of biological resources and minimising waste, thus bolstering the Nordic bioeconomy. Special attention will be given to ways in which the transformation to a sustainable bioeconomy, combined with a strong element of environmental protection, can drive local and rural development.
The Nordic Energy & Transport programme is nearing completion. Twelve projects have involved research into various aspects of electric transportation and sustainable freight transportation in the region. The objective has been to pave way for the sustainable transport systems of the future, whether by developing and testing new technologies, expanding infrastructure or analysing political framework, environmental benefits and future traffic scenarios.