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How does Greenland’s agriculture interact with climate change?

Aarhus University is participating in a new project with the aim of adapting Greenland’s agriculture to the future climate.

[Translate to English:] Klimaforandringerne har stor indvirkning på grønlandske forhold, herunder landbruget. Foto: Colourbox

Agriculture is one of the sectors most affected by climate change. This is particularly true in Greenland where climate changes are happening relatively fast. Naalakkersuisut (Government of Greenland) and scientists from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University have therefore initiated a new project to illustrate the challenges and opportunities that climate changes cause in relation to agriculture.


Three years ago the Department of Agroecology started and self-funded research in the southern part of Greenland.


- Since then we have tried to put Greenland’s agriculture on the research agenda. Agricultural research in southern Greenland should be considered as a supplement to Aarhus University’s significant commitment in relation to environmental surveillance and Arctic research, says Section Manager Mogens Humlekrog Greve from the Department of Agroecology. The department will prepare a climate report in collaboration with the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University.


- Hopefully, this is the first step towards cooperation between Aarhus University and Greenland’s agricultural sector in relation to the major task of adapting to climate change that Greenland is faced with. While Denmark and other countries are discussing increasing temperatures of approx. two degrees, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expects a temperature rise of approx. five degrees in southern Greenland, says Mogens H. Greve.


- Climate change affects us all, but agriculture is one of the sectors that is most seriously affected. For instance, new knowledge about climate change shows that the drought season will be longer. In addition, the growth season will increase by almost two months by the year 2100. This presents challenges as well as opportunities that we should be aware of and recognize in order for us, as a society, to be resistant to and prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, says Greenland’s Minister for Nature, Environment and Energy, Mala Høy Kúko.


Close dialogue with the local community

The project is carried out in a close dialogue with, among others, Kujalleq Municipality, the Cooperative Sheep Farmers' Associations and the Agricultural Consulting Services. It is important to Naalakkersuisut (Government of Greenland) that the project results in a climate adaptation report on agriculture that considers the local conditions and problems existing in southern Greenland. The project will also have a look at experiences and initiatives from northern Iceland and northern Norway to see if these may be included in a southern Greenlandic context.


- The climate adaptation report will be a much needed tool for my area and the agricultural industry in order for us to benefit from the advantages of climate changes and – at the same time – to work to reduce the negative effects such as droughts, says Karl-Kristian Kruse from Greenland’s Minister of Fisheries, Hunting & Agriculture.


The third in a row

The climate adaptation report on the agricultural industry is the third in a row. The first report was published in 2012 primarily dealing with the impact of climate change on the hunting and fishing industries. Last year the second report was published, dealing with the shipping industry, including possible adaptation and reduction initiatives.


The preparation of the third climate adaptation report is coordinated by the Ministry for Nature, Environment and Energy, and the Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting & Agriculture in Greenland.


For further information please contact:

Section Manager Mogens Humlekrog Greve, Department of Agroecology, e-mail: mogensh.greve@agro.au.dk, tel.: 8715 7748, mobile: 2072 6734


Secretary to the Minister Elise Uupi Kuitse, e-mail: eukl@nanoq.gl, telephone: +299 34 54 14


Head of department Camilla Østbirk, e-mail: caos@nanoq.gl, telephone.: +299 34 60 19


Head of department Amalie Jessen, e-mail: amalie@nanoq.gl, telephone.: +299 34 53 04


Source: Naalakkersuisut news