Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Deborah Avant

Second Advisor

Cullen Hendrix

Third Advisor

Rachel Epstein


Climate change, Arctic, Natural resource conflict


How does climate change contribute to domestic natural resource conflict and socioenvironmental resistance in the Arctic? The literature assumes that developed Arctic nations possess sufficient state capacity to overcome risks of domestic conflict and unrest posed by regional development and environmental change. Arctic policy correspondingly focuses on natural resource competition, disputes, and conflict at the international level. The mechanisms and processes of domestic natural resource conflict and socioenvironmental resistance in the Arctic have thus been largely ignored in the literature, even though 27 cases of contention have occurred since the ‘shock’ sea-ice melt of 2007.

In this study, I draw on existing studies to present a model of linear and cumulative risk to domestic natural resource conflict and socioenvironmental resistance in the Arctic. I then aggregate relevant variables to calculate relative conflict risk across 18 subnational Arctic territories, test it against incidence of contention, and determine that it is not predictive of domestic natural resource conflict and socioenvironmental resistance. Building on correlations that do appear in the analysis, I suggest a focus on conflict mechanisms and processes previously unidentified in the literature.

I subsequently explore three case studies of domestic conflict and socioenvironmental resistance to assess how climate change produces contention over natural resources in the Arctic. I find that climate change has fostered state interest in natural resources for soft power development via global climate leadership, the strengthening of sovereignty claims, and other strategic benefits in the Arctic. The prioritization of state interests over other economic activities, including artisanal and subsistence harvesting, constrains diversification in economic production and fosters an overdependence on natural resource production that is unexpected in developed economies. International NGOs endeavor to mitigate inequities associated with the state capture of natural resources by financing or initiating resistance activities. However, institutional control by strong Arctic states limits the effectiveness of conflict and resistance activities by regional stakeholders.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jen Evans


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


154 pgs

File Size

1.1 MB


International relations

Available for download on Sunday, April 26, 2026