- Targeting governments, international financing institutions and even some oil companies to reduce or eliminate direct, place-based threats to biodiversity from specific oil and gas projects and infrastructure
- Working to redirect large-scale investments into renewable energy, rather than into new hydrocarbon projects
Arctic oil and gas
As a result, it can take many decades for Arctic regions to recover from habitat disruption, tundra disturbance and oil spills.
Impacts of exploration and drillingThe Arctic is a frontier region, and oil and gas development will require the building of massive infrastructure through ecologically intact areas. Impacts include:
- habitat destruction
- fragmentation of migration routes
- gravel mining for pads, harbours and roads
- draining freshwater resources for ice roads
- lowered barrier to entry for other kinds of resource exploitation, such as logging of sensitive timberline forests, commercial fisheries, mining and other commercial use of wild species.
- significant damage to benthic organisms, such as corals, and to sea floor habitats from subsea infrastructure, like pipelines from offshore installations.
Oil spill threats in the Arctic
Oil spills, whether from blowouts, pipeline leaks or shipping accidents, pose a tremendous risk to arctic ecosystems. Marine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable.
- Top predators, like cod, seals and seabirds, tend to congregate in extremely large groups during the most productive time of year. This means that a single large oil spill in the wrong place and at the wrong time of year can have very serious, population-wide impacts on seabirds, fish, and some marine mammals.
- There is no effective method for containing and cleaning up an oil spill in ice conditions.
What WWF is doing
Oil and Gas Officer, Global Arctic Programme
WWF Global Arctic Programme,