environment | August 28, 2013

Is The Arctic An Emerging Market? Environment Speaker Laurence C. Smith

Is the Arctic the next emerging market? That's the question environment speaker and Arctic expert Laurence C. Smith brings to light in a new Strategy+Business article. With the Arctic ice rapidly receding, untapped resources are becoming more easily accessible in the northern part of the world. As Smith illustrates in his post, there are numerous economic and environmental benefits to commercializing the region. One of the major draws to the north is that it's rich in resources such as conventional hydrocarbons (natural gas, oil), minerals, metals, fish, and fresh water. Further, the melting ice is creating new shipping routes. Shortened travel offers both economical savings as well as decreased fuel consumption and a cutback on greenhouse emissions.

"Developing the Arctic, though ripe with opportunity, is also fraught with complexity," Smith stresses. "The desire for resource wealth must be tempered by respect for local populations and customs, and for the land itself." There are five key challenges that Smith says must be addressed if we are to invest in the Arctic:

1) Protect the environment and the people living in the Arctic region
2) Address infrastructure concerns in the under-serviced region
3) Establish clear rules for ships navigating dangerous and unpredictable Arctic waters
4) Resolve governance agreements to reduce the uncertainty for policymakers and business interests
5) Increase research about the area including mapping and monitoring programs, satellite observations systems, improved computer modeling, etc.

"The Arctic region will require novel, cooperative solutions to overcome these challenges to sustainable economic development," Smith concludes. "The time to act is now: The resources locked in the Arctic could shift the balance of energy supply and demand in the world in important way."

Laurence C. Smith is the Professor and Chair of Geography and Professor of Earth & Space Sciences at UCLA and author of The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future. In his keynotes, he presents a realistic, but not pessimistic view of our future. He provides audiences with both the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead, and how we can make the most of both. To book Laurence C. Smith as a speaker, contact The Lavin Agency.

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