Beyond the Arctic Circle, in the heart of northern Siberia, Russian scientist Sergey Zimov has created Pleistocene Park – to reconstitute the ecosystem of the Ice Age by reintroducing large herbivore species into the former Mammoth steppe, where the soil had become severely depleted.

Restoring these ecosystems could also help halt the thawing of the permafrost, a gigantic layer of glacial ice that traps billions of tons of organic carbon. As it melts, the microbes that dwell here quickly convert formerly frozen organic matter into carbon dioxide and methane. The release of these greenhouse gases as a result of climate change is a threat that has long been ignored.

Sergey Zimov will be invited for an exclusive to ARD interview in which we will ask him to comment on the main climate risks to Australia in the context of his famous statement:

"As the permafrost melts, the goals of the Paris Agreement become meaningless".

You can read Sergey Zimov's earlier interview to Katerina Markelova here.

Updated: Mar 31

International Arctic Forum originally scheduled for April 11 - 13, 2022, has been postponed.

From the ARD point of view, international cooperation in the Arctic is essential for many reasons, including protection of the environment.

The Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF) contains a quarter of the country’s domestic oil reserves and more than 70% of its gas, which are worth USD 20 trillion, according to preliminary estimates.

They could account for 20–30% of oil production by 2050. However, the vulnerability of the Arctic’s natural ecosystem as well as its harsh weather and climatic conditions, remoteness, and poor infrastructural development pose a challenge to the existing working principles and require brand new organizational and technological solutions. Hydrogen and renewable energy could become some of the most important elements in terms adapting the Arctic’s energy infrastructure to climate change. Oil and gas companies and other energy companies operating in the Russian Arctic are already incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into their development strategies and highlighting a set of priority goals.

Questions that need to be addresses include:

  • Are the companies that are implementing projects in the AZRF prepared for the energy transition?

  • What resources should be used to develop green energy and what factors are hindering the development of green projects in the AZRF?

  • What projects in the AZRF are capable of changing the energy market over the next three to five years and becoming a component of the region’s carbon neutrality programme?

  • What drivers will help accelerate the development and use of technologies, including ones that aim to reduce harmful emissions from APG flaring, for projects in the Arctic?

  • How can we create a unified Arctic green industry cluster?

  • What effective practices and technology partnerships are available in the era of energy transition, and how can experience smoothly be exchanged with international green energy companies?

  • How Australian investments in the Russian LNG/green energy market could supplement already large Chinese investments to stimulate development of the green energy in the Arctic beneficial for all three countries?

14 January 2022, National

Australia will export renewable hydrogen and ammonia to Japan, under to an agreement signed by both countries this month. Under the agreement, Japan will participate in the first round of the $150 million Australian Clean Hydrogen Trade Program (ACHTP).

The ACHTP aims to advance Australian-based hydrogen supply chain projects that catalyse international investment and contribute to the development of export markets for Australian hydrogen products, including liquefied hydrogen and ammonia. The program will help deliver on the aims of the Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation Through Technology, announced in July 2021 to foster cooperation between the two countries on the pathway to net zero.

Japan’s participation in the ACHTP was announced following a virtual meeting between Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last week. The two leaders discussed a number of topics, including hydrogen exports, economic cooperation and security in the Indo-Pacific. Referring to Japan as ‘our closest partner in Asia’, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the partnership would help to deliver on Australia’s commitment to reducing emissions by working with other countries to get the cost of clean energy technologies down.

“It is critical that we work closely with our international partners such as Japan to deliver on Australia’s low emissions objectives. This will accelerate the development of an Australian export hydrogen industry which can be a supplier of choice for Japan and the region.” “And when Osaka hosts the World Expo in 2025, Australia will be there to showcase the best of Australian ingenuity and innovation,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Renewable hydrogen is a priority technology in the Australian Government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement and is seen as a crucial technology to enable the renewable energy transition and decarbonise the economy. Renewable hydrogen produced in Australia is already generating interest among key trading partners, with the Australian Government signing hydrogen partnership agreements with Singapore, the UK, Germany and South Korea in addition to Japan. Work is already underway in Australia to produce renewable hydrogen for Japanese consumption with the Australian and Victorian governments partnering on the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Pilot Project (HESC). Aiming to be fully operational in the 2030s, HESC involves the construction of a liquefied hydrogen export facility in Hastings, Victoria to export hydrogen to Kobe, Japan. In September 2021 ARENA, along with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and a consortium of Japanese businesses, announced funding for a feasibility study looking at producing renewable hydrogen in Gladstone, Queensland for export to Japan. The Australian Government estimates that renewable hydrogen could create more than 16,000 jobs by 2050, with another 13,000 jobs in developing related infrastructure.