Arctic Region – UPSC GS1

Critically examine the potential impact of exploring oil, natural gas, minerals and fish under the melting Arctic ice and comment if it worth to explore natural resources in the Arctic region. (200 Words)

Arctic ice has been melting mainly due to global warming and as per predictions by 2040 entire ice cover would be melted. This raised for countries to look for resources in the region to serve commercial interests.
Advantages of mineral exploration:
  1. Exploration of energy fuels serves energy security for world
  2. Finding new mineral sites and exploration of minerals are necessary steps when world is facing resource scarcity
  3. Region provides huge fisheries and other marine resources to ensure food security
  4. Arctic melt mainly provides for short transportation route between developed countries and hence saves fuel and time
  5. Exploring above minerals caters to growing needs of world economy
But these disadvantages need to be seen in light of:
  1. Environmental concerns: once these materials are being explore it leads to trapped co2 and CBM to escape from ice and could cause more global warming
  2. Exploration of marine resources would impact marine ecology as it is one of pristine regions in the world
  3. Many wild life species like polar bears would be extinct once exploration starts
  4. Once transportation linkages are established and with increase in human activity leads to complete melt which could significantly impact sea levels across which could have impact on low lying countries
  5. Militarization of Arctic region: e.g. Russia and Norway conducted military exercise
Citing such grave concerns a common global approach need to be followed as in Antarctica and UN should regulate it rather than arctic council. Focus should be on reuse, recycle approach of resources rather than discovering new resource sites hence environmental concerns need to be emphasized rather than commercial interests



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