How will melting Arctic ice change global economy?

Greenland ice
This 2009 file photo shows Ice Fjord of Ilulissat in Greenland. The Greenland ice sheet has lost 1,500 billion tonnes of ice since 2000.
AFP/AFP/Getty Images

The melting Arctic ice is a major concern for climate change and global warming experts, but for some the changing landscape could bring in new economic opportunities.

Arctic ice melted to all-time low this summer, about half its size in 1980. The ice cap at the North Pole measured 1.32 million square miles on Sunday. That's 18 percent smaller than the previous record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.

The melting sea ice means more shipping routes can open up and create more access to natural resources. How will the new normal impact our daily life and economy?

From The New York Times:

At stake are the Arctic's abundant supplies of oil, gas and minerals that are, thanks to climate change, becoming newly accessible along with increasingly navigable polar shipping shortcuts. This year, China has become a far more aggressive player in this frigid field, experts say, provoking alarm among Western powers.

Arctic ice melt
An image of the Arctic sea ice on Sept. 16, 2012, the day that the National Snow and Ice Data Center identified to be the minimum reached in 2012. The yellow outline shows the average sea ice minimum from 1979 through 2010.
Courtesy of NASA

While the United States, Russia and several nations of the European Union have Arctic territory, China has none, and as a result, has been deploying its wealth and diplomatic clout to secure toeholds in the region.

"The Arctic has risen rapidly on China's foreign policy agenda in the past two years," said Linda Jakobson, East Asia program director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia. So, she said, the Chinese are exploring "how they could get involved."

Walt Meier, ice expert at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, will join The Daily Circuit Friday. Heather Conley, senior fellow and director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, will also join the discussion.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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