Encyclopedia Article


The Arctic is the region surrounding the North Pole, which reaches into the northernmost parts of Canada, Alaska, Siberia, and Greenland. The Arctic is characterized by permanently frozen lands, very little vegetation, and extreme changes between summer and winter climate conditions. Although the Arctic is, for the most part, uninhabitable, international economic interests in the region have been increasing in recent decades. These interests are focused mostly on resource extraction, especially petroleum. While rich petroleum deposits in the Arctic offer an attractive solution to the world's unsustainable reliance on oil, the immense cost of drilling in extreme conditions, as well as the high risks of environmental degradation involved, have led to controversies concerning investment in and development of the area.

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"Arctic sky, February 20, 2008" by Ian Burt is licensed under CC BY.

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