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Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Full Title: Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
Author(s): Ronald O'Rourke, Jane A. Leggett, Laura B. Comay, Jonathan L. Ramseur, John Frittelli, Harold F. Upton, Caitlin Keating-Bitonti, Pervaze A. Sheikh, Brandon S. Tracy
Publisher(s): Congressional Research Service (CRS)
Publication Date: September 23, 2021
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the regions future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. The seven other Arctic states are Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark (by virtue of Greenland), and Russia.

Changes to the Arctic brought about by warming temperatures will likely allow more exploration for oil, gas, and minerals. Warming that causes permafrost to melt could pose challenges to onshore exploration activities. Increased oil and gas exploration and tourism (cruise ships) in the Arctic increase the risk of pollution in the region. Cleaning up oil spills in icecovered waters will be more difficult than in other areas, primarily because effective strategies for cleaning up oil spills in icecovered waters have yet to be developed


All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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