Thursday, July 30, 2020

Who owns the North Pole

The United States has appointed a coordinator for policy in the Arctic  as  it prepares to compete with Russia and China on resource extraction in a region quickly melting due to climate change.

Jim DeHart, a 28-year diplomat who most recently served as a senior adviser in South Korea, is now U.S. coordinator for the Arctic region.

U.S. interest in the Arctic has grown as climate change raises temperatures and causes sea ice to melt, opening the region to more shipping and exposing critical minerals, uranium and fossil fuels. The Arctic has warmed at a rate twice the global average over the last three decades.

U.S. officials said in April they were “in the process of adjusting our Arctic policy to today’s new strategic realities.” 

At the same time, the United States announced a $12.1 million economic aid package for Greenland, which has vast deposits of rare earth minerals that could be used in everything from military weapons to generation of renewable energy.

Trump has pushed for drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, considered one of the world’s last pristine places.

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