The Arctic as a hot topic

July 26, 2016 10:00 - 11:15 am


The Arctic has become a hot topic in international relations. Climate change, growing global interests in establishing new, shorter shipping routes and the offshore extraction of oil and gas are transforming the region into a geopolitically important area with new and sometimes contested economic, environmental, legal, and governance interests.

Rising temperatures and melting sea ice are exposing previously inaccessible natural resources to economically viable extraction. In Northern regions, the non-renewable natural resources (fossil fuels, metals and minerals) are vast and industrial interest for their utilization is growing. Many countries, including many geographically distant from the North, have national interests in exploiting the region’s natural resources. Whilst these trends are contributing to infrastructural development, they are at the same time increasing pressure on the environment and biodiversity. To support the sustainable development of the Arctic regions for the benefit of their societies, the governance options and policy information should be critically analysed. It is necessary and urgent to increase interdisciplinary discussion between natural and social sciences about the effects of climate change on resource utilization. This session brings together natural scientists and governance experts to give their view on resource extraction and international relations in the Arctic.

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