You may find this of interest. It is a very well done, detailed look at the current situation in the Arctic resulting from climate change. It points to the major reasons that the area is of such consequence:  moderating climate causing drastic decreases in ice formations, increasing lanes of international transit and exposure of the area’s natural resources.

Stratfor_WorldView-warmer-arctic-makes-hotter-geopolitics-climate-change
A Warmer Arctic Makes for Hotter Geopolitics