Who Owns the Arctic?

Aug 5, 2008 5:26pm

There is a gold rush, or something like it, in the cold wastes around the North Pole.  They’re getting warmer, or at least less icy, which has countries looking to stake their claims for the oil, natural gas and minerals that may be recoverable up there. You may recall an estimate last month that three years’ worth of oil may lie undiscovered beneath the Arctic seas.  And there were also some hard feelings last year when Russia sent an expedition to the pole itself, trying to prove that it was, in fact, part of the Russian continental shelf. Now the International Boundaries Research Unit at Durham University in England has weighed in with a new map of "Maritime jurisdiction and boundaries in the Arctic region" — and it’s bound to renew the fight. "The map identifies known claims and agreed boundaries, plus potential areas that might be claimed in the future," say its creators.   They invite comments and questions, presumably from interested parties — "but please read the briefing notes carefully first." As for the North Pole itself, look closely at the pdf version of the map HERE.  It’s right on the edge of the area claimed by Russia — but more likely, according to Durham, it’s part of the continental shelf that would be claimed by Denmark.

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