Scenario Planning for the North Slope
To understand the potential costs and benefits of developing Arctic resources in a safe and sustainable manner—and to help ensure that residents and ecosystems in the region can adapt as conditions change—federal, state, local, and Native entities in Alaska formed the North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI), which is authorized to serve as an inter-governmental forum for science collaboration through the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
To produce science-based guidance for the development of energy resources in the region, NSSI took up the idea of developing detailed scenarios—plausible stories about how the future might unfold—to describe how resource development could occur and what monitoring efforts would be useful to help protect people and the environment as conditions change.
Together, the project team and stakeholders including individuals from North Slope communities, representatives of energy and resource extraction and processing industries, tribal members, academic partners, non-governmental organizations, and members of the NSSI considered uncertainties that might affect resource development in the context of a changing climate through the year 2040. The project team is now synthesizing existing data with identified uncertainties to develop a body of information to support decisions related to development of energy resources in the region.
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