EU to seek ban on tapping oil, gas in Arctic

The European Union is to call for a ban on tapping new oil, coal and gas deposits in the Arctic ahead of COP26, the UN climate conference that will be held this month.

The EU said on Wednesday that its new Arctic strategy is committed to ensuring that oil, coal and gas "stay in the ground."

It stressed the importance of addressing climate change, given "the immense knock-on effects of Arctic warming."

The EU says it will seek "a multilateral legal obligation not to allow any further hydrocarbon reserve development in the Arctic or contiguous regions, nor to purchase such hydrocarbons if they were to be produced."

Regarding the extraction of rare raw materials that are strategically important, the EU aims to promote environmentally-friendly mining.

The EU also expressed concerns over Russia's military buildup and China's infrastructure investments in the Arctic, saying that intensified interest in the region could turn it into an arena of geopolitical competition.

The bloc also plans to open an office in Denmark's autonomous territory of Greenland, to increase its engagement in the Arctic.