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The future is not what it used to be. Visiting a review of Arctic future studies 10 years after

Academic lecture
Year of publication
External websites
Involved from NIVA
Gunnar Sander
Gunnar Sander, Peter Arbo, Maaike Knol-Kauffman


The Arctic Futures project was conducted in the Fram Centre ap. 10 years ago and holds lessons learned for those who want to study the future of the Arctic from current perspectives. The project undertook a review of more than 50 books, articles and assessments that thematized the future of the Arctic. Each of these were described for their assumptions, methods, future images, discussions of impacts etc. The results can be accessed in a database: An analysis across the individual contributions were summarized in an article in Polar Geography: "Arctic futures: Conceptualizations and future images of a changing Arctic", see Today we can see the many futures predicted 10 y ago versus real developments. Climate change has accelerated, new industries have developed slowly, there has been peaceful collaboration instead of conflict, and many policy actions have been taken based on such studies. A general conclusion is that future studies are date-stamped and context dependent, with senders and receivers. They will influence the future of the Arctic to the extent that they manage to shape the understandings and actions of key actors.