The sociopolitical, environmental and technological implications of climatic changes in the Circumpolar Arctic for UK Energy Security

Environmental changes in the Circumpolar Arctic have occurred faster than at lower latitudes with harmful impacts for flora, fauna and indigenous peoples. Two related developments are consequently being trialled in the Arctic that are critical to global futures: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

Due to reductions in Arctic sea-ice, both Norway and Russia are developing hydrocarbon fields to meet growing global energy demand. This has involved the development of LNG, whereby gas is cooled to make it amenable for transportation without reliance on regional pipelines. CCS involves the capture of carbon from production processes and then transporting it for storage in underground geological formations. As the UK is no longer self-sufficient in energy terms, economic and climatic futures are becoming increasingly reliant on these Arctic trials.

Deploying an interdisciplinary approach to investigate these issues, this programme of research will include study in archives and libraries, ethnographic observation at different sites, and interviews with relevant scientists, policy-makers and representatives from oil and gas companies. During the 3-year tenure of the fellowship, fieldwork will thus be undertaken in the Norwegian Arctic, the Russian Arctic and Greenland, as well as Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Oxford and London.