Friday, January 14, 2005

Race Is On to Claim the Arctic Circle

"Race is on to claim the Arctic Circle."
New Zealand Herald

An excerpt:

Deep inside the Arctic Circle, hundreds of kilometres beyond the frontier of human habitation, a solitary red flag with a white cross flies in the freezing winds, its pole hammered into the unyielding rock of Hans Island. Next to it, a plaque tells the world the Vikings have returned.

The tiny island, a hostile wedge of rock poised between the north-west corner of Greenland and Canada's Ellesmere Island, where winter temperatures plummet to 40C below, is normally home to a seal colony and the occasional polar bear.

Now it's on the front line of the race to claim the North Pole, a modern scramble for the Arctic that has pitted tiny Denmark against its Nato ally Canada, with Russia and the United States lurking in the wings.

At stake, in what could be the last great territorial land-grab, is the promise of untold mineral riches that has prompted an increasing number of governments to throw tens of millions of pounds at scientific and military missions in a bid to get ahead.

Rest of the Article


WebGuy said...

Bet hedging on global warming.

Michael said...

...and that it what is being willfully ignored here: why is this ice retreating and what does it mean for our environment?

Reminds me of the comment from Bush about scientists' warning of the dangers of global warming (I'm paraphrasing b/c I don't remember the exact quote): Hey who cares if it is warmer--I like warm weather, don't you (insert smirk).

Of course, no one is mentioning colonial/imperial tendencies here in the current land-grab... a territorial war over the resources of the artic circle?