Climate Change and the Melting Arctic

Climate Change and the Melting Arctic Ice-Briefing Center for National Policy on Feb 2nd.

Rising temperatures are causing the arctic ice cap to melt which will in turn change the geopolitical structure of the arctic. I’ve written before about the holistic effects that climate change will have on the planet and this is another perfect example.

According to Dr. Scott Borgenson from the Council on Foreign Relations, there just so happens to be a lot resources under the ice cap which presents arctic nations and non-arctic nations a good reason to expand their territory into the North.

This intent to exploit resources presents a possible security problem among the arctic nations. New questions arise as to who controls the new sea passages. Much of the problem is trying to figure out how to incorporate the new geopolitical structure into existing law.

These new insecurities are spurring arctic nations to militarize their northern borders. According to Dr. Robert Huebert of the University of Calgary, “We’re in an arctic arms race, we’re just not aware of it.” His pessimistic presentation was filled with military language with the intention of warning everyone that there is potential for conflict. Every country is preparing for the worst case scenario despite the lack of clear intentions of aggression by any country.

Perception was the key word in this discussion. Perception of threat is moving nations to an arctic arms race and the perception of great resource wealth is moving nations to want to expand their borders. We think that 30% of all conventional natural gas and 13% of the world’s oil is under the arctic ice.

None of the other panelists were nearly as alarmed as Dr. Robert Huebert. However, the general consensus was that we need to keep an eye on the situation and cooperate with other arctic nations before this whole thing blows into another Cold War.

-Jason

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