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Impacts on the North

Climate change is and will continue to be a key driving force behind impacts on Canada’s Arctic environment. In addition to the inevitable impacts on northern ecosystems, climate change-related sea-ice deterioration is expected to lead to increased marine traffic (authorized and unauthorized), and the increased risk of pollution and other threats that accompany that traffic. Easier access to Canada’s north will also likely reduce the overall cost of exploration, extraction, and shipment of natural resources, making such projects more economically viable. There is considerable potential for development of natural resources (minerals and oil & gas) in northern Canada. However much uncertainty surrounds the impact of climate change on the landscape which might adversely impact development conditions: ice-infested waters, melting permafrost, change in water availability, shorter ice road seasons etc. Sound geoscience information will help reduce the uncertainties associated with development of critical infrastructure for the resource industries. This will positively affect investment in northern resource development. The Earth Science Sector’s Climate Change Geoscience Program (CCGP) is focused on developing geoscience information to help land-use planners, industry and regulators mitigate the risks in northern resource development arising from climate change.

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