India has been granted the status of an observer in the Arctic Council, an organisation of global nations that coordinates Arctic policy. With the melting of Arctic ice, new waterways are emerging, creating opportunities for countries to tap the region’s so far inaccessible resources. There is growing competition over the untapped oil, natural gas, minerals and fish resources of the region. However, little is known about the long-term effects of Arctic exploration and anthropogenic interference in the region. Scientists claim thawing of Arctic ice could release large amounts of carbon and create a domino effect on global climate. India is already experiencing the effects of rising global temperature, most notably in the Sundarbans. What stand will India take on the global rush for Arctic exploration?
But is the melting of the Arctic as promising as it seems? It has been under permafrost for ages. No one knows how human activity will affect its pristie ecology. Scientist warn that locked in its permafrost is twice as much carbon as in the atmosphere. Freeing up of this carbon and access to more hydrocarbons will accentuate global warming, causing a domino effect. Is the world being complacet about the warnings? Richard Mahapatra finds out in this in-depth story – Is Artic rush worth it?
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