Thinking about the Arctic's Future: Scenarios for 2040: The Warming of the Arctic Could Mean More Circumpolar Transportation and Access for the Rest of the World-But Also an Increased Likelihood of Overexploited Natural Resources and Surges of Environmental Refugees

By Brigham, Lawson W. | The Futurist, September-October 2007 | Go to article overview

Thinking about the Arctic's Future: Scenarios for 2040: The Warming of the Arctic Could Mean More Circumpolar Transportation and Access for the Rest of the World-But Also an Increased Likelihood of Overexploited Natural Resources and Surges of Environmental Refugees


Brigham, Lawson W., The Futurist


The Arctic is undergoing an extraordinary transformation early in the twenty-first century--a transformation that will have global impacts. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at unprecedented rates and are likely to continue increasing throughout the century.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Significant environmental changes in the region include retreating sea ice, melting glaciers, thawing permafrost, increasing coastal erosion, and shifting vegetation zones. The Arctic Ocean could even be temporarily ice-free during summer 2040, predicts one recent study.

These changes have profound consequences for the indigenous people, for all Arctic species and ecosystems, and for any anticipated economic development. The Arctic is also understood to be a large storehouse of yet-untapped natural resources, a situation that is changing rapidly as exploration and development accelerate in places like the Russian Arctic.

The combination of these two major forces--intense climate change and increasing natural-resource development--can transform this once-remote area into a new region of importance to the global economy. To evaluate the potential impacts of such rapid changes, we turn to the scenario-development process, the creation of plausible futures to enhance a dialogue among a multitude of stakeholders and decision makers.

The key themes providing the framework for the four Arctic scenarios posed for 2040 include:

* Global climate change, which results in significant regional warming in each of the four scenarios.

* Transportation systems, especially increases in marine and air access.

* Resource development--for example, oil and gas, minerals, fisheries, freshwater, and forestry.

* Indigenous Arctic peoples--their economic status and the impacts of change on their well-being.

* Regional environmental degradation and environmental protection schemes.

* The Arctic Council and other co-operative arrangements of the Arctic states and those of the regional and local governments.

* Overall geopolitical issues facing the region, such as the Law of the Sea and boundary disputes.

Scenario One: Globalized Frontier

In this first scenario, the Arctic in 2040 has become an integral component of the global economic system. Formerly a hinterland, the region has rapidly been drawn into the globalization age. Abundant natural resources, a less-harsh climate, mostly sparse populations, and a geography permitting shorter global air and sea routes between North America and Eurasia have been critical factors influencing the Arctic's development.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Arctic remains a bellwether for global environmental change, because the manifestations of global warming are amplified in the high latitudes. The Arctic's dramatic environmental changes include the shrinking and thinning of sea ice and significant thawing of permafrost in the Russian Arctic, Alaska, and northern regions of Canada. Arctic sea ice disappeared completely for a two-week period during summer 2040. Such climatic change has had profound and largely unfavorable consequences for a majority of the Arctic's indigenous peoples. Several coastal communities in Alaska and Canada have simply washed away.

The age of polar transportation has arrived, as the Arctic now offers greater access than at any other period in circumpolar history. The opening of Russian airspace over the Arctic early in the twenty-first century shortened flights between North America and Asia and have relieved congestion on trans-Pacific routes.

Greater marine access--earlier and longer navigation seasons--has been achieved throughout the Arctic Ocean, and commercial shipping has steadily increased in Hudson Bay, northwest Russia (Barents and Kara seas), and around coastal Alaska. Sensitive nuclear cargoes have been transported in summer across the Northern Sea Route between Europe and Japan, thereby avoiding traditional navigation straits and coastal waters where political opposition has been intense.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Thinking about the Arctic's Future: Scenarios for 2040: The Warming of the Arctic Could Mean More Circumpolar Transportation and Access for the Rest of the World-But Also an Increased Likelihood of Overexploited Natural Resources and Surges of Environmental Refugees
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.