Risks and potential impacts of oil exploration in the Arctic

Publication - 26 August, 2010
Oil companies are expanding their search for oil to new frontiers previously considered too inaccessible, expensive or risky to exploit. This relentless expansion has now reached the Arctic, where large areas of the ocean are opening up each summer as climate change causes sea-ice to melt.

The dangers of drilling for oil in the Arctic are immense. Oil spilt into near freezing water takes many times longer to dissipate than in warmer oceans. The freezing temperatures, severe weather and remote location pose unprecedented challenges to any spill response. Oil pollution in Arctic seas could poison some of the most important and productive marine ecosystems in the world. The industry cannot ensure that a spill would never happen and their response plans remain wholly inadequate.

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