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Arctic risks and rewards

GuestBlogger25 June 2016

The panel at 'Development in the Arctic: Risks and Rewards'

The panel at ‘Development in the Arctic: Risks and Rewards’

pencil-iconWritten by Dr Ilan Kelman, Reader for Risk, Resilience and Global Health (UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction)

The Arctic: The last earthly frontier of adventure, excitement, remoteness, and resources! Or is it? Given that people have lived in the high latitudes for millennia, how remote, isolated, and open-for-business-for-southerners is the Arctic?

The UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction’s Arctic Research programme convened a panel ‘Development in the Arctic: Risks and Rewards’ at UCL on 8 June to discuss these questions.

To an engaged audience of about sixty, three distinguished panellists explored how climate change and technological advances might or might not be opening up the Arctic for exploitation by the world. They examined what we know and do not know about development risks and rewards in the far north.

What realities of Arctic environmental conditions are rarely described? What Arctic social and political circumstances are frequently circumvented? What about the people who live in the region who have rights and interests? The risks and rewards regarding the so-called ‘Arctic Gold Rush’ for resources and development was examined and critiqued.

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Exploring the Arctic from space

RuthHowells20 January 2012

The first Lunch Hour Lecture of the new term was held on 17 January – the 100th anniversary of Captain Scott and his team of explorers reaching the South Pole. So the topic of scientific exploration and measurement in the polar regions is an apt one.

In a busy Darwin Lecture Theatre, an audience of all ages opened their lunchboxes and poised themselves to listen to the day’s speaker, Dr Katharine Giles from the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM), part of UCL Earth Sciences.

Katharine’s lecture was about understanding the physical processes taking place in the polar regions by using increasingly sophisticated satellites. Her main area of research is measuring the changes in sea ice cover in these regions.

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