CHAPTER 24 - Protecting the Arctic Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Liquefied Natural Gas
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Numerous scientific records of climate indicators and in-depth statistical analyses thereof testify that the impact of the phenomenon of global warming is becoming increasingly evident. Weather patterns have already been severely altered in various regions of the Earth, with the case of the Arctic clearly standing out. As ice coverage in this region maintains its downward trend, the creation of new and significant business opportunities should, however, be noted. Maritime routes that were previously covered with ice packs are now becoming available for shipping; the promise for shorter voyages from Asia towards Europe and/or the Americas (and vice-versa) is enticing to say the least. Additionally, the reduction of ice in the wider arctic region could facilitate the extraction of the numerous natural resources (and especially energyrelated ones) available in all those frozen areas, which were previously widely considered as unsuitable for any type of business. The analysis in hand will briefly highlight the decline of ice coverage in the Arctic and elaborate on its main consequence in relation to the contemporary global maritime transport system: the creation of the so-called "Arctic Passages". Additionally, it will provide a summary of the current regulatory framework associated with the region under discussion and especially the provisions of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code or PCD). Furthermore, considering petroleum is today the primary marine fuel source within commercial shipping, this analysis will expand upon previous research efforts into how to preserve the arctic environment by limiting the use of such oil fuels. Therefore, it will explore the use of alternative sources, specifically in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as a way to reduce the environmental impact of petroleum spilled within the pristine arctic waters in the event of an accidental discharge, as well as to decrease air pollutants.
Liquefied natural gas, Protection, Arctic environment, Challenges, Opportunities