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3.6.2. Fossil fuel supply from Arctic regions

Arctic regions are already experiencing very high temperature increases, and this trend is expected to continue (Huang et al., 2018). As a result of this warming, previously inaccessible fossil energy resources may become accessible. If these resources are exploited, this may lead to positive impacts on the local economy; it could also increase energy security, if these fuels replace fuels from geopolitically unstable regions. However, such developments can have significant negative impacts on the regional environment, which is characterised by fragile and already changing ecosystems. Furthermore, increased production and use of fossil fuel resources in the Arctic would counteract climate change mitigation efforts (EEA, 2017i). Currently, fossil fuel extraction in the (European and non-European) Arctic is limited. Several planned projects have been halted or cancelled because of excessive cost, unknown human and environmental risks, significant stakeholder opposition and regulatory challenges (Koch, 2015; Schaps, 2015).

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Energy infrastructure in the (European and non-European) Arctic will be impacted by degrading permafrost. This could result in damages to existing gas and oil pipelines and subsequent disruptions to energy supply (Forzieri et al., 2018; Hjort et al., 2018).

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