The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. And as it does so, many nations — especially those with Arctic coastlines — are assessing opportunities for establishing new trade routes and tapping into the region's vast reserves of offshore oil and gas.

But the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution believes the United States—which will assume chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015— is lagging behind other countries in shaping its policies. So, the think tank has published a study offering recommendations on how the U.S. can elevate the Arctic region as a priority national interest.

The downloadable, 60-page policy report is definitely worth a read. But, if you're short on time, Brookings has produced this nifty, two-minute video above about what's at stake at the North Pole.