Emerging Arctic Explored in New CFR InfoGuide

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March 25, 2014

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has released a new interactive guide examining the economic opportunities and environmental risks emerging in the Arctic. Climate change, technological advances, and a growing demand for natural resources are driving a new era of development in the Arctic region. Many experts assert that Arctic summers could be free of sea ice in a matter of decades, opening the region up to hundreds of billions of dollars in investment, most notably in energy production and shipping.

InfoGuide on the Emerging Arctic

But the region's warming will also bring new security and environmental complications, particularly for the five Arctic Ocean coastal states—the United States, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), Canada, and Norway.

"I don't think about the Arctic in isolation. I think about it in terms of its location in the center of some major geopolitical developments," says Michael Byers, Canada research chair in global politics and international law at the University of British Columbia, in the overview video. He adds that U.S.-Russia relations, global climate change, and the development of China as an economic power dependent on shipping are all issues that converge in the Arctic.

The "Emerging Arctic" InfoGuide includes:

  • an overview video with insights from Scott Borgerson, CEO, CargoMetrics and Cofounder, Arctic Circle; Michael Byers; Heather Conley, senior fellow and director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Marlene Laruelle, research professor of international affairs at George Washington University;
  • a timeline highlighting commercial, political, and environmental milestones in the Arctic;
  • infographics detailing the region's demographics, oil and gas potential, and ships and shipping routes;
  • an interactive diagram showing the intersecting affiliations of Arctic Council member states; and
  • policy options for a stable and sustainable future in the Arctic.
  • an interactive map showcasing the receding sea ice, regional oil and gas resources, areas of diplomatic dispute, seasonal shipping routes, and the five Arctic Ocean coastal states;

The "Emerging Arctic" InfoGuide is the third in a series that also includes "China's Maritime Disputes" and "Child Marriage." InfoGuides, produced by the CFR.org editorial team, utilize a responsive design for tablets and mobile devices. Various multimedia sections are embeddable, including the timeline, map, and infographics. CFR's interactive offerings also feature the Emmy Award–winning Crisis Guides and the Global Governance Monitor.

InfoGuides are produced in partnership with Phase 2 Technology, and made possible by funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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