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The Case for Icebreakers
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis assesses the potential success of the United States’ newly assumed role as chairman of the Arctic Council in light of its own record of development in Alaska, its only Arctic territory. Using primary and secondary qualitative research, perspectives from multiple stakeholders are analyzed to assess the United States’ current capabilities in the Arctic versus its rhetoric and responsibilities. To gauge this more effectively, the theory of problem-solving capacity is used to analyze the United States’ potential capacity in the Arctic Council, while the theory of environmental security is used to analyze the United States’ level of investment and commitment to Alaska. With development in Alaska minimal at best and local communities at risk from environmental impacts, the ideal tool for addressing these deficiencies is identified to be icebreakers operated by the United States Coast Guard. Impediments to acquiring sufficient icebreaking capacity are explored, with the conclusion that if the United States is to take effective action on the Arctic stage, investment in icebreakers and therefore the environment and inhabitants of the Arctic is necessary. Not doing so reveals the USA’s agenda to be empty rhetoric and consequently this lost opportunity for leadership may lead to catastrophic results for the region.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 74 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 283
Keyword [en]
sustainable development, Arctic, Inuit, icebreaker, united states, coast guard, alaska, environmental security
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-289309OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-289309DiVA: diva2:925023
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2015-05-29, Stora Stoten, Department of Earth Sciences, Villavagen 16, 75236 Uppsala, Uppsala, 09:30 (English)
Available from: 2016-05-09 Created: 2016-04-29 Last updated: 2016-05-09Bibliographically approved

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