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Balancing De Jure and De Facto Arctic Environmental Law Applied to the Oil and Gas Industry: Linking Indigenous Rights, Social Impact Assessment and Business in Greenland

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What will take place in the Arctic in the next decade will have consequences for us all, as the changing of the “Albedo effect” is altering the global climate, disrupting many equilibria both in the ecosystem and in the social sphere. Changes in the Arctic will not stay in the Arctic, but will affect the rest of the planet. The need to exploit resources, the emergence of new actors in the Arctic and the discovery of abundant oil, gas, mineral and renewable energy resources mean that we have to literally rethink and reconstruct the “Arctic” as a concept. Huge promises are made, but big questions are also raised about how we are to rethink and regulate our “blue planet.” A new regulatory framework is thus inevitable. This article deals with the social aspects of the climate change’s effects and the understanding of human adaptation to climate change by explaining how the problem of exploration and exploitation of oil and gas and their use by indigenous people are strictly interconnected with Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and environmental protection. The article focuses on the social dimension of climate change coupled with business development of oil and gas firms in the Arctic with Greenland as a case study to illustrate opportunities and tensions affecting the indigenous Greenlandic people. Some conclusions are drawn with the formulation of recommendations on the urgent need for direct participation of Arctic indigenous people in the decision-making policy creation on environmental protection measures and culture and advice on how to implement such recommendations. A solution to implement such recommendation would be to develop an interdisciplinary research programme to be implemented through an interdisciplinary research centre susceptible to be turned into an international organization after a certain period of working activity at the academic level.

10.1163/1876-8814_004
/content/journals/10.1163/1876-8814_004
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/content/journals/10.1163/1876-8814_004
2014-03-11
2018-07-20

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