A Study on the impacts caused by developments in the Arctic region
Lee, Benda Yu Xian
Date of Issue2016
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Global climate change that accelerated global warming resulted in an extraordinary 50-year retreat of Arctic sea ice. An unprecedented increase in marine access through the Arctic region was spotted. The High North which was kept in pristine condition began going through developments and changes to cope with the rise in marine access. Over the years, several arctic routes have emerged such as the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and Northwest Passage (NWP) which sparked interests of Arctic states and non-Arctic nations due to cost and substantial time saved. However, there are many considerations to be taken into account before a company or a nation plunge into decisions relating to shipping in the Arctic. Beside different economical consideration faced by various countries and businesses, technical considerations such as the lack of Search and Rescue (SAR) facilities or infrastructures that can withstand the weather conditions in Arctic region and environmental considerations like worsening of pollution that influences endangered species or indigenous people living in the Arctic region. Hence, this report aims to look into the 3 main impacts of developments in Arctic shipping which are environmental, technological and economic impacts, mainly focusing on the environment impacts with a brief information on technological and economic impacts. Research was conducted to examine their respective contributions and this report helps to consolidate the results. Surveys and interviews were also conducted to have a better understanding of the correlation between academic research and professional opinion. Prospects of commercial shipping remain relatively low due to insufficient infrastructures and high cost. However, more extractions are developed in the area resulting in higher level of pollution. Together with the research reports of my 2 other team members (Melisa Yeo Hui Mei and Lim YiJun) which focuses on economic and technological impacts respectively, recommendations are proposed to resolve and minimise the cons of developing the Arctic shipping routes. In the environment aspects, it is recommended for all shipping companies using the Arctic routes to adhere to new polar code strictly and play their part in protecting the unique ecosystem and wildlife of Arctic.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University