Arctic risk: a discussion of the possible outcomes of two disaster scenarios

Ben Lishman

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    UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) is a trans-disciplinary research institute that leads research, knowledge exchange with industry and humanitarian agencies, and advanced teaching, in the area of risk and disaster reduction. The Institute's programme in Arctic Risk has strong links to the UCL Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) and collaborations with industry, the humanitarian sector and academia, in Canada, Norway and Svalbard, Russia, and Finland.

    We believe that the risks associated with Arctic development often involve the overlap of disciplines and sectors. Based on this belief, we organized and Arctic Risk Scenario meeting on the 12th September 2014. Invited participants worked through two Arctic disaster scenarios. The scenarios chosen were: (1) a cruise ship sinking off north east Spitzbergen, and (2) an oil well blowout in the Kara sea. Participants came from the oil and gas industry, shipping, law, politics, humanitarian agencies and academia: one aim of the meeting was to bring together diverse perspectives on the Arctic.

    Two invited speakers presented relevant background. Dr Nataly Marchenko (The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), and author of the book "Russian Arctic Seas") discussed a series of recent Arctic shipping near-disasters. Dr Rocky Taylor (C-Core, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada) discussed the complexities of oil exploration and production in Arctic seas, again based on a number of reference events. The rest of the meeting was held under the Chatham House Rule. Diverse views were expressed, and in this document we highlight topics of broad consensus and areas of disagreement.

    This document highlights observations and outcomes from the meeting which may affect the UK's ongoing interests in Arctic development. It was submitted to, and published by, the UK House of Lords Arctic Committee, under their 2014 call for evidence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherUCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2015

    Publication series

    NameIRDR special report
    PublisherUCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


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