Arctic oil and gas: the wrong solution to the world’s energy crisis

Gas fields near Noviy Urengoy. Western Siberia, Russia. © naturepl.com / Bryan and Cherry Alexander / WWF

Going to the Edge

In Norway for example, the government is proposing an expansion of exploration in the pristine ice edge in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea. The ice edge, which is teeming with biodiversity, is critical for the survival of many threatened Arctic species. Meanwhile, Canada is mulling a review of its current moratorium on Arctic drilling and is considering starting new production in Bay de Nord in Newfoundland. And efforts to scale up production in Alaska, including in the Arctic Refuge, are back on the table.

Pollution caused by the improper discarding of oil drums at a remote US Coast Guard station on Attu Island, Alaska, USA. © Kevin Schafer / WWF

Stranded Assets

An expansion of oil and gas extraction is also economically misguided. Energy prices have indeed risen sharply in response to a supply shock caused by Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. The sharp rise in prices is likely to be a short-term response to the conflict of Ukraine, and prices are predicted to return to levels lower than before the invasion. If new projects are given the go-ahead based on current oil prices, investors could easily see their investments stranded.

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WWF Oceans

#Ocean Practice @WWF 🐼 Working to protect and restore ocean health for the benefit of people, nature and climate. Not all RTs are endorsements.