Our “Big Questions” series brings together leading scholars, former policymakers, and top industry experts to tackle critical questions. In the fifth part of this series, we asked a group of experts the following:

Last month, Arctic sea ice extent reached a maximum of 5.57 million square miles - a record low. As the Arctic region rapidly transforms due to dramatic climate impacts, new economic opportunities and environmental challenges present themselves across the region. How realistic are these economic opportunities, and what factors will drive or delay future economic development?

In our first response, Dr. Jan-Gunnar Winther advises that making the most of the Arctic's emerging economic opportunities will require careful management and cooperation between industry and the international community.

In our second response, Arild Moe explains that China's currently cautious approach to Arctic investment could give way to greater involvement over the long term.

In our third response, Pavel Baev details Russia's development vision for the Arctic region.

In our fourth resonse, Craig Fleener offers insight on the potential future of the Arctic based on current trends and developments.

In our fifth response, Dr. Anne-Marie Brady breaks down China's Arctic priorities and the strategy being pursued to achieve them.

In our sixth response, Dr. Lawson W. Brigham cautions against exaggerating the impact of sea ice change on global maritime trade routes.

In our final response, Heather A. Conley and Matthew Melino discuss the potential dawning of a new Arctic Age should the Arctic circle become connected economically.

Previous Topics in our Big Question series include Asia's Overland Connections, The World’s Infrastructure Laboratory, Emerging Technology and Tomorrow’s Geography, and Asia's Unintended Flows.