From creating new shipping channels, to accessing
previously unreachable oil and gas wells, climate change is
presenting companies with new economic opportunities in the Arctic.
But the risks posed by a changing climate may make companies think
twice about moving in to one of the world's most challenging
Speaking to an audience of industry specialists at The
Arctic Summit yesterday, Greenland's prime minister Aleqa
Hammond said climate change was "remapping the world", allowing
companies to explore the Arctic's economic potential like never
before. That means countries such as Greenland are now "open for
business", she said.
Industry representatives weren't so optimistic, however. They
maintained that while climate change does make it easier for
companies to access the Arctic, it remains a challenging
environment to operate in - with climate change creating risks as
well as opportunities.
Arctic sea ice is thawing at greater rates year by year,
providing new opportunities for mining, fuel production and
tourism. But the Arctic's extreme cold and remoteness make it a
challenging environment for companies to operate in. The rapidly
changing climate makes it difficult to ensure safety, in
Energy companies are obligated to plan for the worst, and that
means being prepared to deal with oil spills or leaking wells.
While the industry has a wealth experience of dealing with such
disasters in less challenging environments, more research is needed
to understand the Arctic's specific risks, according to Tom Bolt,
performance manager for insurance company Lloyd's.