Posted by: Martin Fox | February 12, 2009

The new nationalistic realities of global warming

I didn’t see the topic of nations rushing to lay claim to vast areas of the Arctic coming when I first studied global warming in the mid-1990’s. I read a report a few days ago that predicted northern sea lanes would open year round in the Arctic in a matter of years, allowing ships to bypass the Panama Canal. Hmm…

With 25% of the earth’s untapped oil and gas resources in the Arctic, the race to lay claim to those valuable resources is no surprise. While this article is about Russia’s efforts to claim vast areas of the Arctic, the USA, Canada, and other Northern Countries are racing to do the same thing to gain access to those valuable energy reserves.

Wouldn’t it be great if developed nations could figure out a way to work together on accelerating renewable/sustainable technologies? Cooperation and collaboration seem to be better alternatives for the earth than simply making the Arctic the latest region in which developed nations race against each other to plunder.

Like John Lennin said, “People say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”

Peace out – Martin Fox with the Center for Global Leadership.

Russia sending more ships, scientists to Arctic
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW – Russia will modernize its icebreaker fleet and station more researchers in the Arctic as part of its push to stake its claim to the vast resources of the disputed polar region, a presidential envoy said Thursday.

Artur Chilingarov, a famed polar scientist who was recently appointed to the post, said that Russia’s sizable icebreaker fleet gives the nation a strong edge in Arctic exploration. He said that Russia would build a new Arctic research ship to supplement the Akademik Fyodorov, which conducted a 2007 expedition in which Russian mini-submarines put a capsule with Russian flag on the Arctic seabed.

Chilingarov told reporters that Russia is also preparing to send a team of some 50 polar scientists to the island of Spitsbergen, where Norway claims exclusive rights. He said an advance team will leave Saturday to chose the place for the station.

“The Arctic has a special geopolitical importance for Russia,” Chilingarov said at a news conference.
Chilingarov said that the government’s policy guidelines on the Arctic envisage “expanding the Russian presence there, intensifying research and rebuilding a network of polar stations.”

In 2007, Chilingarov led two Russian mini-submarines on a mission to stake Russia’s claim to the region that is believed to contain huge oil and gas reserves. The two subs descended some 2.5 miles (4 kilometers ) to the Arctic seabed, where they collected geologic and water samples, and dropped a titanium canister containing the Russian flag.

The Russian mission exacerbated the controversy over an area which is believed to contain as much as 25 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas.

Russia, the United States, Canada and other northern countries are trying to assert jurisdiction over the Arctic, whose oil, gas and minerals until recently have been considered too difficult to recover. The dispute has intensified with growing evidence that global warming is shrinking polar ice, opening up new shipping lanes and resource development possibilities.

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said last fall that Russia’s long-term development and competitive place in world markets is dependent on developing Arctic resources.

Chilingarov said that Russia is preparing to resubmit its claim that an underwater mountain range crossing the polar region is part of Russia’s continental shelf. Moscow first submitted the claim in 2001 to the United Nations, but it was rejected for lack of evidence.

Chilingarov said that Russia took notice of NATO officials’ meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, last month at which they said the alliance will need a military presence in the Arctic as major powers rush to lay claim to lucrative energy reserves.

“We aren’t going to wage a new Cold War in the Arctic,” Chilingarov said, adding, however, that Russia will look to protect its interests.

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