Workshop: Geoscientific Contributions for a Better Understanding of the Arctic System
The transformation of the Arctic due to climate change has wide-ranging impacts on the region’s people and ecosystems, not least because of the increasing accessibility of the Arctic Ocean. This is particularly true of the wide Arctic continental shelves that are expected to contain thus far undiscovered oil and natural gas resources. Against this background, geosciences can provide policymakers and stakeholders with essential knowledge to better understand and consequently respond to the uncertainties inherent in Arctic change processes.
To highlight current and potential geoscientific contributions for a better understanding of the Arctic System, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), the German Arctic Office at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) organised a workshop at the BGR in Hannover on 31 January and 1 February 2018, which was generously funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Leading experts from various geoscientific backgrounds gave keynote talks on the changing environment in the Arctic, geological and climatic history, natural resources and exploration activities, impacts of hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, and the governance and legal regime of the Arctic.
The workshop participants – who included senior and early-career researchers from geosciences, environmental assessment, economics, political science, law, and the humanities in Germany and abroad – formed three breakout groups to develop input for geoscientific contributions for a better understanding of the Arctic system. The groups focused on “Past, Present and Future of the Arctic”, “Natural Resources: exploration and exploitation”, and “Economic, legal and social risks and impacts”.
The results of their discussions can be found in a Workshop Report.