As China and Russia boost their military presence in the resource-rich far north, U.S. intelligence agencies are scrambling to study potential threats in the Arctic for the first time since the Cold War, a sign of the region's growing strategic importance.
With land-based mineral sources in decline, the move to mine seabeds is pushing scientists, regulators, and mining companies to collaborate on frameworks and strategies for mining the seabed responsibly.
The author counters the myth of a "race for the Arctic" finding that despite political rhetoric, Arctic nations are cooperating together to better understand the new environment and establish viable international law to govern the new region.
The international scramble over development, energy and climate change in the Arctic — highlighted by President Obama’s trip to the Alaska’s far north this week — is prompting fresh debate over whether American influence in the region may be limited by the fact that the U.S. is the only nation in the fight to have never ratified the Law of the Sea treaty.
The author argues that as the economic basis for Russia's expansion into the Arctic evaporates, the real motive -- to shore up domestic confidence in a failing economy wrought by sanctions -- becomes more apparent.
The authors find that UNCLOS has been successful in making the Arctic one of the most peaceful regions on the planet, with "the potential for a major inter-state conflict in the Arctic has generally been regarded as quite low."
Shell is considering drilling for oil in the Arctic but it may not be worth the risk of public outrage due to the inevitability of catastrophic oil spills and the increasing realization that extracting Arctic oil would pose a grave risk to the global climate.