Arctic 2030: What are the consequences of climate change?

By Rob Huebert, July 1, 2012

Although scientists disagree about the rate at which Arctic ice is melting, climate change will greatly alter the northern latitudes in coming decades if greenhouse gas emissions are not greatly curtailed. Many of the expected changes will be negative; already, permafrost is melting in Siberia, and apartments and factories are sinking into quagmires. The melting of Arctic ice, however, will also open sea-lanes to shipping and allow access to enormous oil and gas reserves beneath the Arctic Ocean. The prospect of increased Arctic commerce brings with it competition among countries and companies for control of the area’s riches, and international competition always carries the possibility of conflict. Three authors, all experts in national security and the Arctic, explore the military, diplomatic, environmental, and economic outlook for the Arctic in 2030: from Russia, Yury Morozov (2012); from Canada, Rob Huebert; and from the United States, George Backus (2012).


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