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The Arctic, Laboratory of the Anthropocene

  • Matthias Finger
Chapter

Abstract

The Arctic, because of its particular exposure to climate change, has become a laboratory of the Anthropocene in two interlinked aspects, called the ‘Arctic paradox’: on the one hand, the Arctic is particularly affected by the anthropocenic effects on the Earth System, in particular global warming. These anthropogenic effects have the potential to trigger a series of tipping points, which, in turn, will irreversibly alter the balance of the Earth System, at least as it prevailed during the Holocene, and become security issues. On the other hand, the warming Arctic is opening up new, unprecedented opportunities for oil, gas and minerals exploration and exploitation, thus offering yet another lease on life to industrial civilization, the very origin of the Anthropocene. Can this paradoxical dynamics be broken?

Keywords

climate change laboratory the Anthropocene the Arctic paradox the earth system — global the global Arctic tipping point 

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© Matthias Finger 2016

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  • Matthias Finger

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