The Arctic and Antarctica are warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with the amount of sea ice lost equal to the size of Mexico (when we compare what we have today to previous averages). The consequences are devastating, ranging from rising sea levels to endangering local ecosystems.
But as the polar ice caps melt, they also make it easier to extract a raft of resources, including gold, silver and copper, as well as oil and coal. They’re our newest frontiers and money-hungry industries are itching to get their hands on them.
This week Down to Earth explores whether it’s possible to exploit the North and South Poles without damaging them. Even if it is feasible, should it be pursued?