Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 76 ›› Issue (5): 1078-1089.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202105003

• Research on the Arctic Region • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The geopolitical driving forces and mechanism on Arctic energy exploitation

WANG Li1(), WU Liang2, LI Yanpeng1, ZHANG Dan2, YANG Linsheng1,3()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Research Center for World Geography & Resources, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-05-18 Revised:2021-03-15 Online:2021-05-25 Published:2021-07-25
  • Contact: YANG Linsheng E-mail:wangli@igsnrr.ac.cn;yangls@igsnrr.ac.cn
  • Supported by:
    Key Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(ZDRW-ZS-2017-4);The Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA19070502)

Abstract:

The accelerating global warming enhanced the Arctic sea ice melting, which made it possible to explore energy resources in the Arctic region. This study firstly analyzed the energy trade structure in the pan-Arctic countries, covering Arctic countries and the observer countries. Secondly, it uses correlation analysis to extract the direct geopolitical factors including energy dependence, energy importance, energy security, and indirect geopolitical factors including national power (military power and foreign investment influence), climate and environmental protection and social inclusive development, which might influence the willingness of the pan-Arctic countries to exploit the Arctic energy. Finally, we apply fuzzy-set qualitative analysis (fs/QCA) to examine the driving mechanisms of these geopolitical factors on the willingness to exploit the Arctic energy. The results showed that: (1) Arctic countries mainly serve as energy exporter while observer countries mainly serve as energy importer. The amount of China's energy imported from Arctic counties is small at current stage, but with a huge potential. (2) Energy dependence, energy importance, national power and social inclusive development are significantly correlated with the willingness on Arctic energy exploitation, acting as key geopolitical factors. (3) Key geopolitical factors drive or impede the willingness on Arctic energy exploitation through three major pathways, among which, national power together with energy dependence or energy importance behave as the major driving forces for most of the pan-Arctic countries, large countries in particular, such as Russia, USA, China and India. The second pathway is driven by national power but restricted by social inclusive development, including most European countries and Canada. The third pathway is mainly driven by energy importance while restricted by social inclusive development, mainly including Norway. Finally, this study provided coping strategies and suggestions on China's participating Arctic energy exploitation based on the energy trade structure and the driving mechanisms.

Key words: Arctic, energy, geopolitical factor, driving mechanism, fs/QCA