The Compass

The New Arctic: Resource extraction

Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic. As the ice melts, it poses an existential threat to local communities and indigneous culture, whilst opening up possibilities of economic opportunities. What is the future of mining, of green energy, of tourism in a world that climate change is making accessible for the first time in millennia? And where does power lie? Who will control the rapidly changing icy far north as it thaws?

The US Geological Survey estimated the Arctic may be home to 30% of the planet's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13% of its undiscovered oil. Russia for example, views its vast Arctic resources as a key driver of its future economy. On the other hand, the melting ice will cause trillions of dollars worth of climate change-related damage, globally, over the coming decades.

But for the communities who live above the Arctic Circle, it’s not a simple debate over preservation versus production - there is a need for jobs and sustainable local economic growth.

(Photo credit: Victpria Ferran.)

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