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Ice Rush: Making The Arctic Economy Sustainable

Date: 26 September 2012

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9 pages, 1 figure

Executive Summary

Over the past 30 years, scientists have been measuring the melting and freezing of Arctic sea ice. In September 2012, data show a rapid decline in the extent of sea ice during the summer months compared to previous years. Warmer temperatures and scientific forecasts of further warming have encouraged firms to invest in the Arctic economy, with government policies in Canada, Russia and Unites States supporting the development of infrastructure and transport to fuel the race to resources in the north. But in many cases, investments in the Arctic economy face substantial risks such as unpredictable climate impacts, geopolitical risks and potential conflict, and policy changes in the face of public opposition. Investment in the Arctic is under way and supportive government policy and commercial strategies point to continued expansion, but the speed of the ice rush will depend on sea ice melt and warmer temperatures. Verdantix research finds that firms targeting the Arctic economy need to anticipate a bumpy ride and should prioritize sustainability by implementing environmental risk management frameworks.


Scientific Forecasts Indicate The Potential For Arctic Economic Development
Government Policy Actively Promotes Investment In The Arctic Economy
Spending On Infrastructure And Transport In The Arctic Economy Is Ramping
The Race For Natural Resources In The Arctic Is Moving Up A Gear
Major Players In The Arctic Economy Face Titanic Risks
Innovative Services Firms Seek To Make Arctic The Economy Sustainable
Investors In The Arctic Need To Prioritize Risk Management And Sustainability


Figure 1. Arctic Sea Ice Extent And Percent Loss


ARCADIS, ArcelorMittal, Arctic Cable Company, Arctic Fibre, Barents Observer, BP, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, CDM Smith, CH2M HILL, Edelman, ERM, ExxonMobil, Gazflot, Gazprom, Golders Associates, Greenpeace, MMG, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Novatek, Nunavut Department of Economic Development and Transportation, OmiTRAX, Polarnet, Rosmorport, Shell, Statoil, Telesat, Tetra Tech, Total, Tschudi Group, Tschudi Shipping, UN International Panel on Climate Change, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, US Geological Survey, US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, Vale, Veidekke, Weber Shandwick, Wood Group Engineering, WSP Environment and Energy, Xstrata