Robbie Andrew

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Socio-Economic Drivers of Change in the Arctic


Abstract

The Arctic is undergoing rapid and fundamental change. Recent decades have seen rising temperatures and reduced sea ice, and these present substantial uncertainties to local communities. Overlaid on these climatic shifts are changes in other factors such as resource demand, globalisation, transportation, economic development, and demographics, factors which are to varying degrees themselves affected by the changing climate.

This report presents an overview of the potential directions of non-climate drivers affecting the Arctic, and explicitly excludes discussion potential impacts and responses. In this report the non-climate drivers have been split into two perspectives: global and Arctic. Global drivers set the wider context within which the Arctic is changing. How is the global economy expected to develop? What might the world's population be in 2050? How will global demand for mineral resources change over time? What are the expectations for future energy demand? These global factors - represented by large numbers and considerable momentum - come with large uncertainty, especially several decades out, yet they set the scene for change in the Arctic.

The second perspective is of factors that are explicitly Arctic in nature: the changing population of the Arctic regions, shipping through Arctic waters, the activities of oil and gas companies, mining, Arctic tourism, and food security. In each of these areas, a summary is made of the most salient issues including any expectations for how they might develop. What is driving each of these factors? What constraints are there impeding those drivers?

Real-life linkages within integrated systems are extremely complex, and one cannot hope to elucidate them all. This brief report attempts to point towards these linkages, summarising major trends, and highlighting the factors that are likely to lead to changes in the Arctic, changes to which local communities and stakeholders must respond. As such, this report is but one input into the work still to come in the AACA project, work which will bring local knowledge and expertise to bear on the adaptation issues facing the selected trial regions, and will draw from a broad and diverse range of sources and types of knowledge.

While the AACA project is focussed on adaptation, in no way do communities in the Arctic need to see this as disempowering. In fact, AACA intends to draw upon local knowledge and to move forward with mutual understanding, supporting local decision-making. Adaptation, in a deeper sense, can also suggest transformation and rebirth. Further, one important option for adaptation to changed drivers is to intervene: strategically using the community's voice to prevent or re-direct change. Clearly change brings both challenges and opportunities to the communities of the Arctic.

Services from the environment to our culture

reportPDF

The field of ecosystem services describes how we benefit from the environment, including in intangible ways. While there are some established (albeit debated) methods for putting a value on some services, cultural ecosystem services are often placed in the too-hard basket. In this work, Robbie Andrew provides an overview of cultural ES, discussing the difficulties and presenting some potential solutions. Learn more »

Scenarios of four futures

conference report

In support of qualitative scenario work based on four potential futures of New Zealand, Oscar Montes de Oca and colleagues developed a dynamic environment-economy model. The model combines the dynamics of population, labour force, economic growth, and environmental impacts to investigate the potential outcomes of the scenarios. Learn more »

Loss of high-class agricultural land

Development of smallholdings in New Zealand has increased in recent years, as people choose to get back to nature or escape the rat race. Robbie Andrew and John Dymond calculate how much of New Zealand’s best agricultural soils have been ‘lost’ to lifestyle blocks, and discuss what is meant by ‘loss’ in this context.Learn more »


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