The Arctic Ocean holds up to 20 percent of the world’s undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas reserves, according to new research from the U.S. Geological Survey. A four-year study found that the region contains up to 90 billion barrels of oil and almost a third of the world’s undiscovered natural gas — about 1,670 trillion cubic feet. However, even with climate change improving drilling conditions in the Arctic (i.e., melting more and more of that pesky ice), it will be decades before the oil and gas there could be developed. While environmentalists and others want to try to limit the impacts of Arctic drilling before it happens, the USGS characterized the oil and gas survey as a precursor to such protections. “Before we can make decisions about our future use of oil and gas and related decisions about protecting endangered species, native communities, and the health of our planet, we need to know what’s out there,” said USGS Director Mark Myers. So now that we know, where are those protections already?
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