Tuesday :: Apr 15, 2008

A Warming Cold War?


by Turkana

Reuters, on March 9:

With oil above $100 a barrel and Arctic ice melting faster than ever, some of the world's most powerful countries -- including the United States and Russia -- are looking north to a possible energy bonanza.

This prospective scramble for buried Arctic mineral wealth made more accessible by freshly melted seas could bring on a completely different kind of cold war, a scholar and former Coast Guard officer says.

While a U.S. government official questioned the risk of polar conflict, Washington still would like to join a 25-year-old international treaty meant to figure out who owns the rights to the oceans, including the Arctic Ocean. So far, the Senate has not approved it.

Unlike the first Cold War, dominated by tensions between the two late-20th century superpowers, this century's model could pit countries that border the Arctic Ocean against each other to claim mineral rights. The Arctic powers include the United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark and Norway.

The irony is that the burning of fossil fuels is at least in part responsible for the Arctic melt -- due to climate change -- and the Arctic melt could pave the way for a 21st century rush to exploit even more fossil fuels.

Turkana :: 6:41 PM :: Comments (1) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!