I regularly write op-eds about climate change and the Arctic in the Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen, all of them collected here. These columns are, besides English, also available in the original Norwegian version and in Dutch. Those versions may appear online quicker than the English translation, so if you understand those languages please take a look over there to get the latest and greatest.
Klassekampen, 31 Aug 2018
While the search for oil continues, we are reaching a new climate normal.
Forest fires that ravaged along the entire west coast of the US. The thickest and oldest arctic sea ice that broke up. Night temperatures in Oman that didn't drop below 41 degrees Celcius. Record after record was broken this summer, and Norway wasn't spared: the unprecedented drought led to ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 27 Jul 2018
The nature of the far North can create many jobs, provided we do not destroy it first.
It is ten degrees and foggy in Berlevåg when we make port with Klassekampen's summer boat. There are no yellow, dried-out trees or forest fires here like in the South of Norway. Trees do not or hardly grow in this environment. The heat of this summer and the worst drought in 70 years seem ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 22 Jun 2018
While we enjoy the sun, a potential food crisis is growing.
The weather was hot and the climate deniers were silent. Strange actually, that you only hear from them when it is cold in the winter, but not during a historic heat wave. Then again, there was little to deny: the average temperature in Norway in May was more than four degrees C above normal ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 18 May 2018
Do we have to stop going on holiday? Or can we spend our CO2 in a smarter way?
Vacations are bad for the environment, according to a study that appeared last week in Nature Climate Change. It showed that tourism is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions. Roughly twice as high as previous estimates. This difference is mainly due to the fact that, unlike previous ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 13 Apr 2018
Shell and Equinor are helping us through the climate crisis. Or not?
What is going on with the oil companies? Don't they want to sell oil anymore? Just before Easter, Shell presented a vision of how the world could use little or no oil in the future. Last month, Statoil announced that they are going to throw the word "oil" out of their name and want to ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 9 Mar 2018
A winter with lots of snow should not make us forget that the Arctic is melting.
Severe frost, snow and ice. Great! Europe finally got a normal winter. Right? No. Appearances can be deceiving, because in reality there is nothing normal about it. In my previous column I already predicted this: due to changes in the jet stream circling the polar region, it can be extremely ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 26 Jan 2018
We have left our traces all across the earth, even where we cannot see them.
Frozen iguanas fell from the trees in Florida! How can climate change be true? Every winter it's the same story. As soon as a single snowflake falls from the sky, climate skeptics will elbow each other out of the way to declare that the earth isn't warming. But while the east of the US ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 12 Jan 2018
The Norwegian climate trial was doomed to fail. But not all hope is lost.
To lose a lawsuit is never fun. But when it has negative consequences for our environment, we all lose a little bit. Last week on Thursday, Greenpeace and Natur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth) lost the lawsuit they had filed against the state. They demanded that the expansion of oil drilling in ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 10 Nov 2017
The 23rd UN climate conference: Everyone is in agreement, but nothing changes.
23 times. That's how often the UN has held its annual climate conference in an attempt to prevent dangerous global warming. You undoubtedly know of the conferences in Kyoto and Paris, but there are probably few people who can remember the other 21 meetings. And that isn't strange either, ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 15 Sep 2017
While storms and extreme precipitation strike, the rich are moving to the high ground.
The Canadian protest singer Geoff Berner already sang it years ago: "You and me baby, we’re going to watch the poor drown. ‘Cos the rich are gonna move to the high ground". Cynical, but also very topical now that hurricanes Harvey and Irma have left unprecedented devastations in ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 11 Aug 2017
Global warming is smouldering beneath this summer's heat waves and forest fires.
Back from vacation? Perhaps you visited the Mediterranean? Good timing, since the Norwegian news channel NRK reported a few weeks ago that this would be impossible in the future. It'll be too hot. In other words: quick, before it becomes unbearable on the Spanish beaches, take an airplane to ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 7 Jul 2017
Norway needs a government which realises that oil does not have a future.
"This is not the time for tactics or game-playing. This is the time to act and to put our best foot forward. To save our planet – together." This statement came from Norway's prime minister Erna Solberg during the climate conference in Paris in 2015. Admirable words, which mean nothing ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 2 Jun 2017
The climate debate is riddled with false contrasts. This won't get us any further.
Recently, the end times were world news. The Guardian reported that climate change had thawed the permafrost around the global seed fault on Svalbard, and that it flooded. This led to a media storm with sensational headlines about 'The Doomsday Vault'. The subtext: climate change has gotten ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 5 May 2017
Why suffer through a snow storm, when you can do research from the comfort of your office?
While the airplane descends, I look out of the window and see the snow-covered peaks of Svalbard. It’s light outside, even though it’s the middle of the night. The sun won’t set until August. In the middle of this snow-filled landscape, on top of a mountain plateau near Longyearbyen, I ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 17 Mar 2017
Climate science is threatened by much more than just Donald Trump.
Last week I attended a meeting in Seattle, where together with climate scientists from Europe and the US we mulled over the question of how much methane is released from permafrost in the Arctic. This group also included researchers from NASA and NOAA, institutes that are now under fire ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 10 Feb 2017
Small changes in an ecosystem can initiate a turbulent chain reaction.
I should be talking about Donald Trump, and the unprecedented shift in American science policy. From a president who published in Science only last January, we have gone to one who tries to silence climate researchers, and threatens to take away federal funding for a university because of ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 6 Jan 2017
Is it man or nature that has caused the recent increase in methane emissions?
When climate change hits the news, it's often about records being broken. Globally, 2016 was the hottest year ever measured. Never before was there so little ice in the Arctic as this winter. And the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere hasn't been this high in 800.000 years. But there's ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 18 Nov 2016
The USA leaving the UN climate convention isn't the worst-case scenario.
While the world's countries had just gathered in Marrakech to discuss the implementation of the Paris agreement, news broke that Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. He doesn't believe in climate change; it's a conspiracy by the Chinese, he says. Is the Paris agreement, ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 28 Oct 2016
The Norwegian climate trial is an attempt to force politicians to abide by their words.
Greenpeace and the Norwegian organisation "Nature and Youth" have recently sued the government of Norway to prevent the exploration of new oil fields in the Barents Sea. With it, climate activists are following a new path: rather than persuading the government to implement better policies, ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 23 Sep 2016
Sea ice is disappearing. That's not just bad news for polar bears.
When Fridtjof Nansen and his Fram-expedition were stopped by a wasteland of frozen ice on their way to the North Pole, it was also the definitive refutation of an old and curious idea that there had to be a large area of open water at the center of the Arctic Ocean. 120 years later, an ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 15 Jul 2016
Politicians incite distrust towards experts - and allow global temperatures to rise.
"People in this country have had enough of experts", said Michael Gove, the former British justice secretary who is headed for an uncertain future, earlier in June. This bizarre statement came as a reply to a question about the many (inter)national organisations that warned against the ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 13 Jun 2016
Extreme weather shows what our climate may be like in the future. Are we prepared well enough?
While the water level of the Seine recently reached such high levels that the basements of the louvre were evacuated and several villages in Germany flooded, the south of Norway experienced warm and sunny weather. With temperatures close to 30 degrees C the region was among the hottest in ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 2 May 2016
People can do a lot to adjust to climate change. But what about plants and animals?
Last summer, I was hiking through the west of the Hardangervidda in Norway: 100 km in a week through an area without cellphone reception, no internet, no obligations, and no rush. Nonetheless, the group that I had joined was walking at a swift pace. So much so that I was wondering whether ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 21 Mar 2016
What do they mean when meteorologists say that it’s warmer because of El Niño?
Last year was worldwide the hottest year ever. And this year will probably be even warmer. At least, that’s what the British Met Office said last December, and with the record-breaking heat of the past three months they haven’t been proven wrong so far. Normally, scientists are hesitant ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 8 Feb 2016
Those who think that climate change is boring, have never seen a glacier disappear.
Recently I discovered, to my great astonishment, that many people think that climate change – my research field – is boring. That even some employees of this newspaper start to yawn when they hear the word «climate». And admittedly: I don’t get that enthusiastic either when I hear ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 7 Dec 2015
Antarctic sea ice is increasing. Is the Earth not warming after all?
For most people, the Arctic and Antarctic are one and the same thing. It’s cold, and there’s lots of snow and ice. When I recently gave a lecture about the North Pole region, even the organizers did not realize that penguins are common only to the South and polar bears to the North. ... Continue reading →
Klassekampen, 26 Oct 2015
Doomsday-thinking doesn't get us any step closer to counteracting climate change.
“So... is the world going to end?”. This may not be the most common response when you tell someone what kind of work you do, but as a climate scientist I’ve gotten used to this question. Climate change often evokes doom scenario’s and it’s therefore understandable that people are ... Continue reading →
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