Tourism, Consumption Main Culprits in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase

tourists on perlan

The release of greenhouse gases increased in Iceland by 2% between 2016 and 2017 according to a new report by the The Environment Agency of Iceland, RÚV reports. Elva Rakel Jónsdóttir, a director at the agency says the results of the report are a disappointment, although not unexpected.

“This is obviously not the results we’d like to see,” Elva says. “We’d like to see these numbers lowering, everybody does. However, we are taking action that we expect to bear fruit in the coming years.”

Elva says that a big part of the increase in greenhouse emissions is the increase in tourism in Iceland and their consumption. She would like to see a change in the rate of consumption among locals and tourists.

“I’m allowing myself to be optimistic in saying that a lot will change in the coming years, especially considering the attention these matters have been getting lately,” Elva says. According to her, people are appalled at how much greenhouse gases are released as a result of their own consumption and how temporarily they use the stuff they buy. “The situation is very serious and we need to take it seriously.”

Elva says that quickest and most effective way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions would be a switch to electric cars, a project the government in Iceland could play a decisive role in making a success. “In Norway we see that their implementation of electric cars has been very fast and that there is a high correlation between government intervention and the popularity of electric cars in the market.”

Mysterious Illness Descends on Icelandic Horses

Horses have been falling ill recently in Iceland, Skessuhorn reports. According to Kristín Þórhallsdóttir, a veterinary physician in Laugaland, Borgarfjörður, the nature of the disease has not been determined and therefore no statement has been made yet by the The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority.

Kristín says the illness that’s making the rounds in stables across the country is characterised by a general sickliness and a lack of appetite in the horses. In most cases the symptoms are manageable and pass in around three days without special treatment. Some horses, however, come down with high fever and are visibly unwell. In such cases Kristín recommends the horses be taken in for treatment at the nearest veterinary hospital.

“If their temperature goes over 38.5 degrees celsius, a vet should be consulted. Most of the sick horses we’ve encountered have low appetite and are a little down, but they don’t have a fever,” Kristín says. “Those animals who are sicker than the average horse have been given antibiotics and painkillers, but while we don’t know if they’re dealing with bacterial- or viral infections we’re not sure if antibiotics are of any help.”

Furthermore, Kristín says it’s very different how many horses in a given group will fall ill. In some stables all of the animals are infected, but in others only one horse will come down with something. Kristín hasn’t heard of any deaths related to the mysterious illness and expects that samples taken from sick animals will have been fully diagnosed by the end of this week.

Purveyor of Baked Goods Forced to Raise Prices

Vilhjálmur Þorláksson, the manager of Gæðabakstur, one of Iceland’s biggest manufacturers of baked goods, says the company has been forced to raise their prices, Vísir reports. Vilhjálmur says that intended pay raises are partly to blame, but also a raise in the price of raw materials. Less than half of the company’s expenses are salaries and Vilhjálmur has said he’d rather raise prices than lay off workers.

Many were outraged yesterday when ÍSAM, a wholesale and manufacturing company declared that they would have to raise prices of their materials by 3.9% should intended pay agreements go through. Consequently Gæðabakstur revealed they would have to raise the price of their products by 6.2%.

“Last year our flour prices went up by 30% due to a poor harvest that year,” a disappointed Vilhjálmur says. “Now salary increases are imminent. Costs of transporting our products around the country have increased by 6%, and then we have an increase in the price of raw materials. We are forced to take desperate measures”.

Vilhjálmur says his company hasn’t raised the price of their products in about 15 months. “Over the last few years we’ve been streamlining our factory procedures, but we’ve hit a wall.”

Asked whether it would be possible to lower prices and find other ways to cover for costs Vilhjálmur isn’t optimistic. “I’m afraid we need this. We don’t have any deep pockets to rely on, I’m sorry”.

A White, White Day to Premiere at Cannes

A White, White Day, the newest movie by director and screenwriter Hlynur Pálmason, has been chosen to participate in the Critics’ Week program at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, RÚV reports.

The movie will have its premiere at the film festival, which will be held between the 15th and 23rd of May this summer. A White, White Day tells the story of Ingimundur, a police chief that goes on sabbatical after losing his wife in an accident. Grief-stricken, Ingimundur focuses on building a house for their daughter and grandchild. But soon his attention is directed at a man who Ingimundur suspects had an affair with his wife, his suspicion turns into obsession leading him down a radical path.

The movies’ main roles are played by Ingvar E. Sigurðsson (Trapped, Justice League, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald) and Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir. A White, White Day is the second full length film by director Hlynur Pálmason, who directed the movie Winter Brothers in 2017.

Two Icelandic movies have previously been a part of Cannes’ Critics’ Week. Woman at War, directed by Benedikt Erlingsson, had its premiere there last year and Ingaló by Ásdís Thoroddsen back in 1992.