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who owns the north pole - part 39

Two major Arctic shipping routes have opened as summer sea ice melts, satellites have found. The European Space Agency's Envisat shows both Canada's Northwest Passage and Russia's Northern Sea Route open simultaneously.Shipping companies are already eyeing the benefits these routes may bring if they remain open regularly. A number of major shipping companies are looking to the opening of these routes to shorten journey times and make their businesses more efficient. The Northern Sea Route has been free enough of ice this month for a succession of tankers carrying natural gas condensate from the northern port of Murmansk to sail along the Siberian coast en route for Thailand.

"But this time they've really been open, with a proper Suez-size tanker going through the Northern Sea Route with a full cargo - that's a real step forward" observed Peter Wadhams, an Arctic ice expert from the University of Cambridge.

Who owns the North Pole - Pt. 34 - Greenland?

As rising temperatures expose more land for exploration, prospectors are rushing to the far north in the hope of carving out a new mineral frontier. The Arctic was largely off-limits because much of the land was considered unworkable. Global warming has changed that. More and more is becoming ice-free. Increasing amount of seaborne traffic is beginning to move on the so-called Northern Sea Route which traverses the Siberian coast. There are also hopes of opening up more of the North West Passage above Canada. New mining applications are being submitted for extraction, all the way from Canada through Greenland to Finland. The South Pole is the subject of an Antarctic treaty but there is no similar arrangement for the far north. But most states around the Arctic are not keen to have their hands tied by an international agreement of this kind.

"An active growth of oil and gas exploration in the [arctic] region may become a death sentence for its environment. The natural world of thes…

who owns north pole - part 27- now Germany joins in

As the Arctic ice melts, Germany wants to make sure its scientists gain unfettered access to the region. They have been hindered by the Russians, and other Arctic nations have been hesitant to cooperate. But Berlin also has its eyes on the bigger North Pole booty: natural resources and sea routes.

What happens in the Arctic in the coming years and decades is everyone's business. The Far North has a decisive impact on the climate of the entire planet. Temperatures in the region are rising at higher rates than elsewhere in the world, which affects people and the environment far away from the Arctic. The German scientists' data are urgently necessary to understand these changes.
"This is why we need access to allow our scientists to move about and work throughout the entire Arctic,"says polar scientist Lochte. She is now getting prominent support for her demand. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, a member of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), is hosting…

who owns the North Pole - Part 26

Canadians have adopted a confrontational stance. A new opinion poll finds that Canadians are generally far less receptive to negotiation and compromises on disputes than their American neighbours. More than 40 per cent of Canadians said the country should pursue a firm line in defending its sections of the North, compared to just 10 per cent of Americans.

The international survey – conducted by EKOS Research for the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation – found that a majority of Canadians see Arctic sovereignty as the country’s top foreign-policy priority; they also believe military resources should be shifted to the North, even if it means taking them away from global conflicts.

Harper has made the Arctic a major political platform, taking every opportunity to remind Canadians that his government is determined to defend this country’s sovereignty in the Far North. The poll’s findings would suggest that Canadi…

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 24

The Obama administration, like the Bush one before it, has identified the Arctic as an area of key strategic interest. The U.S. military anticipates the Arctic will become "ice-free" for several summer weeks by 2030, possibly as early as 2013. The U.S. Arctic is melting quickly because of accelerated climate change. The prospect of newly thawed sea lanes and a freshly accessible, resource-rich seabed has nations jockeying for position. And government and military officials are concerned the United States is not moving quickly enough to protect American interests in this vulnerable and fast-changing region. The Arctic is believed to hold nearly a quarter of the world's untapped natural resources and a new passage could shave as much as 40 percent of the time it takes for commercial shippers to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

"We're not doing OK," said Lt. Cmdr. Nahshon Almandmoss "We definitely don't have the infrastructure avai…

Who Owns the North Pole -Part 20

Some may wonder why Socialist Courier continues to report on the situation in the Arctic Circle . In fact , it is a good example of how a once pristine undeveloped region has grown in strategic and military importance when raw materials and natural resources become accessible to capitalist nation states. The capitalist rivalries are high-lighted in an unambiguous way .

Fresh tensions between Canada and Russia emerged Wednesday after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a session of his Security Council that his country must be prepared to defend its claims to Arctic mineral riches. Medvedev predicted climate change will spark further conflicts as ice melts, exposing new areas for exploration."Other polar nations already have taken active steps to expand their scientific research as well as economic and even military presence in the Arctic," he told a session of the presidential Security Council.

"Regrettably, we have seen attempts to limit Russia's access to the exp…

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 19

Further to our continuing Arctic saga we now read that China has decided it too cannot be side-lined.

China has no Arctic coast and therefore no sovereign rights to underwater continental shelves, and is not a member of the Arctic Council which determines Arctic policies.Officially, the country's research remains largely focused on the environmental challenges of a melting Arctic.

"However, in recent years Chinese officials and researchers have started to also assess the commercial, political and security implications for China of a seasonally ice-free Arctic region," Linda Jakobson , a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute researcher, said."The prospect of the Arctic being navigable during summer months, leading to both shorter shipping routes and access to untapped energy resources, has impelled the Chinese government to allocate more resources to Arctic research,"

Last year Beijing approved the building of a new high-tech polar expedition research ic…

who owns the north pole - part 18

The Northwest Passage should have a more Canadian name to assert Canada's claim over the Arctic waterway, says Yukon Liberal MP Larry Bagnell.Bagnell presented a motion in the House of Commons this week, calling on the government to rename the route the Canadian Northwest Passage or the Canadian Arctic Passage.A name change could make to clear to the rest of the world that the Northwest Passage is part of Canada, Bagnell said.
"We claim it to be part of our internal waters, which gives us a lot more authority and control over it," he told CBC News

The United States and Europe have claimed that the Northwest Passage is an international waterway, while Canada has held its position that it's an internal passage.

Who owns the North Pole - Part 13

The saga of the Arctic continues with this report from the BBC that a senior US Coast Guard commander has warned of the risk of conflict in the Arctic, unless disputes over international borders are resolved.
"The potential is there with undetermined boundaries and great wealth for conflict, or competition.There's always a risk of conflict," Rear Admiral Brookes said. He added that this was especially the case "where you do not have established, delineated, agreed-upon borders".Russia is staking the largest claim to the Arctic but Denmark, Norway, Canada and the United States are all involved in border disputes as well . Even China is deploying a research ship to within 200 miles of the North Pole.
The US Coast Guard mounted a pilot operation to Alaska's Arctic coast this summer. Training exercises included search and rescue, and the protection of oil and gas installations, and plans are now being drawn up for permanent basesSocialist Courier will contin…

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 12

Committed to keeping our readers updated on the competition for the Arctic and North Pole regions that has become viable for economic exploitation due to global warming , Socialist Courier reads that a growing array of military leaders, Arctic experts and lawmakers say the United States is losing its ability to patrol Arctic waters . The Pentagon’s Pacific Command, Northern Command and Transportation Command strongly recommended in a letter that the Joint Chief of Staff endorse a push by the Coast Guard to increase the country’s ability to gain access to and control its Arctic waters. The letter from the three military commands to the Joint Chiefs last spring said reliable icebreakers were essential to controlling northern waters and to maintaining American research stations in Antarctica. But the Arctic was clearly the commands’ biggest concern, with the letter citing “climate change and increasing economic activity” as reasons for upgrading the icebreaker fleet.

Adm. Thad W. Allen, t…

Who owns the North Pole - Part 9

Reported by the BBC , in another sign of potential friction in the warming Arctic, Canada has warned that it will step up patrols of the North West Passage . Canada maintains the waterway that connects the Atlantic with the Pacific lies within its territorial waters and that it can bar transit there. The retreating ice, coupled with rising costs of petroleum, has set off maneuvering among nations bordering the Arctic as each attempts to extend claims to the continental shelf where oil might be found.

The Canadian Coast Guard is preparing to send one its research vessels, the Amundsen, through the North West Passage with about 40 scientists on board. Equipped with a remotely operated robot submarine and a sonar system, the ship will undertake a detailed survey of the sea-bed - essential if the waterway is to become more open to commercial shipping. Bush is pushing the Senate to ratify a long-spurned high seas treaty that has gained new relevance with the melting of the polar ice cap and…