Environment

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The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy navigates through the Arctic Ocean near Barrow, Alaska.

Competition Heats up for Arctic Resources

May 28, 2008 01:55 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Five countries are meeting in Greenland to discuss territorial claims to the Arctic Ocean, which could yield undiscovered oil and gas reserves under its seabed.

30-Second Summary

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Denmark, Russia, the United States, Canada and Norway are attending a conference in Ilulissat, Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle.

At the end of the meeting, the countries involved are expected to sign a declaration reaffirming international treaties that currently govern the region, reported Canadian oil and gas publication Oilweek.

“Those that say there is a legal vacuum in the Arctic are wrong because the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention prevails in the Arctic as it does in other oceans,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere in Reuters.

Denmark called the meeting to avoid fighting over ownership of the region. The Arctic could contain 25 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Global warming makes the ownership issue still more pressing. Foreign Affairs magazine warned in March that the melting of the polar ice caps could have dramatic global security implications, as nations scramble to take advantage of new trade routes and resources available in the area.

Headline Links: ‘Arctic states meet in Greenland to discuss territorial claims, resources’

Background: Climate change raises global security issues

Reference: The CIA World Factbook

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