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Climate Change, Conflicts and Cooperation in the Arctic: Easier Access to Hydrocarbons and Mineral Resources?

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Global mineral and hydrocarbon commodity markets have been marked by substantial price increases since 2003. Because of the long lead times of raw materials extraction projects (the time period from exploration to the start-up of production), market observers anticipate a sustained period of high prices, which is likely to last several more years. These high market prices make the extraction of raw materials in frontier areas like the Arctic increasingly interesting. This is even more the case given that the retreat of the Arctic ice cap, due to the warming of the climate in recent decades, could make it substantially easier to develop deposits of raw materials. In addition, the northern sea routes—both the Northeast and Northwest Passages—could be used to create new infrastructures for international trade flows and to tap new opportunities for maritime commerce. Given the significant economic potential of the Arctic, it is essential for all stakeholders to build stronger networks and to establish structures for communication and the settlement of disputes.


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Affiliations: 1: German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Berlin, Germany


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