Impact of climate change in Arctic - Essay Example

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Course Date Climate Change in the Arctic: The Future of International Relationships The phenomenon that is climate change is posing severe consequences to both human development and livelihood systems. Moreover, changes and variations in climatic conditions form the two greatest threats to sustainable development…
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Impact of climate change in Arctic
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Download file to see previous pages The rapid diminishing of sea ice in prolonged summertime is also expected to open up the Arctic for ships and other sea vessels. It is against this backdrop that this paper analyzes how these prospects will impact on the geopolitics of territorial claim that may emanate from these discoveries. According to the National Research Council, climate change poses profound impacts on natural and human systems on the globe. Impacts of climate change are creating concerns for multilateral and bilateral relations, as well as, human, national and international security (56). Changes in sea level, temperature, precipitation patterns and in other elements of the ecosystem adds additional stress to food security, energy, water and other natural resources that support livelihoods (7). In terms of security, climate change poses direct impacts on military operations and regional strategic priorities (8). Therefore, climate change potentially disrupts international relations by posing negative impacts on specific resources and assets (9). The implications of climate change on international relations have begun manifesting in the Arctic region. Based on projections from the National Research Council, warming in the Arctic region has accelerated in intensity than in any other region on the planet (8). In the same vein, Lemke and Jacobi have projected that warming in the Arctic is double the global average since 1980 (7). Regions in the Arctic are already experiencing the effects of this intensified warming. For instance, warming has disrupted the livelihoods of many communities residing in the Arctic, with entire villages at verge of relocation (National Research Council 10). The freezing and subsequent thawing of ice in the Arctic is disrupting infrastructural developments and transportation systems in the region. Additionally, evidence has shown that freezing and thawing of ice has changed the range, diversity and distribution of vegetation and animal species (Turner and Marshal 8). What is worrying many scientists at the moment is the fact that warming and climate change-related impacts in the Arctic are occurring more profoundly and rapidly than had been predicted. For instance, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and in connecting seas has diminished by more than 30% since 1979 (Turner and Marshal 9). Previous study models had indicated that the summer of 2100 will render the Arctic ice-free. However, recent models have predicted that this will happen as early as 2035 (National research Council 12). The rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic has amplified human activities within the region. Furthermore, this loss has generated a lot of interest in and unease about the future of this region. Mounting interest in the Arctic region has been influenced by the perceived benefits that will follow the diminishment of sea ice (Takana 99). Implications of Climate Change in the Arctic Warming, melting, thawing and subsequent diminishment of sea ice in the Arctic has enhanced human accessibility to the region (Kraska 45). For instance, this diminishment could see an increase in commercial ships navigating the two trans-Arctic seaways; the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route (Zellen 5). Accordingly, states have begun updating international guidelines that currently govern ships and other sea vessels navigating the Arctic waters (Kraska 46). Increases have ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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