Video: Climate change, conflict and the Arctic oil rush
The environmental and geopolitical ramifications of melting Arctic glaciers and the rush of different nations for the region’s mineral wealth is fraught with conflict and change.
Melting ice in the Arctic spells trouble for some of Greenland’s traditional indigenous Inuit and for low-lying nations vulnerable to rising sea levels. A warming climate will also change shipping routes in the region, contributing further to the opening up of the region for economic exploitation.
The Arctic is becoming the new battleground for the environment. Groups such as Greenpeace, the WWF and Climate Camp actively confront the activities of oil companies, like Scotland’s Cairn Energy, as they rush headlong into the pristine and ecologically sensitive area.
The main conflict, however, is not be between environmentalists and oil companies, but between the different nations eager to assert their rights to access the reserves of gas and oil which lie under the Arctic’s icy waters – mainly, Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway. A 2008 document on polar resources, signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, even contained a provision for military force.
Russian Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev told journalists last week that Moscow estimates its Arctic sector contains 100 billion tons of oil and gas, plus a cornucopia of other valuable mineral resources.
–Christian Science Monitor
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