The Arctic Age <br />Great Decisions 2009<br />
How it Began<br />The Russian government sent two vessels into the arctic, an ice breaker and a research vessel<br />A Russian Arctic explorer, and a member of the house of parliament, Artur Chilingarov then descended 14000 feet at the top of the world and placed a Russian flag on the sea floor<br />Russia had claimed territory over the Arctic and strategic bombers were placed around the Arctic ocean<br />Many countries protested, the first was Canada with the argument of it not being the 15th century and “you can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say ‘we’re claiming this territory’”<br />Only eight countries have legitimate claims to areas within the Arctic, U.S, Canada, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland <br />
Continued<br />According to the International Seabed Authority, an organization placed by the UN’s Law of Sea, no country has the right to claim territory beyond the 200 nautical mile boundaries given to them<br />Members of the UN’s 21-member technical committee that oversees the Law of Sea convention decide which country take which part of the Arctic<br />This depends on when a country ratifies the convention on the Law of the Sea<br />Ten years is the time a signing country has to make a submission<br />
Why is the Arctic Suddenly Imp.<br />1) Arctic ice has been quickly melting and will soon make it possible for ships to pass safely through the Northern Sea route that links Western Europe to Asia and also connects North Atlantic to the Pacific (this is 40% shorter than going through the Suez Canal or Panama Canal)<br />2) The Arctic is full of oil and natural resources that were to dangerous and expensive to get, but now with new drilling technologies the oil is more accessible and the ice melting is decreasing the danger<br />3) The world is now in need of new resources<br />
Danger of the Melting<br />The melting of the sea could cause a disaster, flooding parts of Canada, Alaska (U.S), and Siberia<br />This could cause danger for Beluga whales which used to hide under the ice but now could be in danger<br />Could increase boundary disputes because fish would move into different areas<br />Would change the climate of many places because it would disrupt the oceans conveyer belt that brings warm water into the Atlantic, for some places winter would not stop<br />
History<br />Scientist were alarmed by the summer of 2005 because the amount of ice in the Arctic was the least amount recorded since satellites started taking pictures of the Arctic<br />In 2007 there was a shocking amount of ice that melted which scientists had presumed would be achieved by 2030<br />Many ships tried to pass through the Arctic in the past centuries but all failed until the Norwegian Explorer Ronal Amundsen<br />It was still a dangerous voyage and after the Norwegian explorer for 65 years only 36 ships passed through the Norwest Passage/Arctic<br />Over the years more transits are being made<br />The Russians are ready for the melting more than any other country, they have 14 icebreaker, more than the whole world together<br />The Russians have plans to build 40 ice resistant oil platforms, 14 offshore gas platforms, 55 ice resistant tankers and storage tankers, and 20 gas carriers<br />
History<br />The situation is different for the North Americans, they are not ready at all, Canada has 5 ice breaker, but they are getting old<br />The U.S still needs to build ice breakers, they especially need to make imperative decisions quickly<br />The U.S coast guard needs to buy t least two ice breakers which will range from $800-$925 million each<br />
Arctic Resources<br />The region has from3.2 to 3.7 trillion cubic meters of gas (could supply all of Europe for 7 years)<br />The region also has 586 billion barrels of oil (All of Saudi Arabia’s reserves are only 260 billion barrels)<br />It is estimated that there are 90 billion barrels of oil undiscovered, 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids also undiscovered<br />Many oil companies are paying millions to get a share in Alaskan oil<br />Gas and oil are not the only benefits found in the Arctic, there is also fish , gold, silver, zinc, iron, diamonds…<br />
Threats<br />The melting of the Arctic will lead to many smugglers who want to take natural resources and sail away without being caught<br />It will also be easier for illegal immigrants to come into the countries that circle the Arctic<br />
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