The New Treaty and Arctic Gamesmanship

By Keith Kloor | May 16, 2011 7:53 am

Last month, I wrote this post, laying out the

global warming = Arctic geopolitical hot spot narrative.

So it’s not exactly news to me that the latest batch of cables released by Wikileaks show, as the BBC reported, that

nations are racing to “carve up” Arctic resources – oil, gas and even rubies – as the ice retreats.

Although these cables are a few years old, they serve as the unfiltered backstory to this big Arctic Council meeting last week, to

discuss cooperation over increased oil and mineral exploration, fishing and tourism as global warming melts the region’s ice.

Interestingly, the cables don’t seem to have been leaked until the meeting concluded and a new Arctic treaty was inked:

Canada, Russia, the United States and their smaller circumpolar neighbours have agreed how to divvy up the fast-warming and fragile Arctic, but only for search-and-rescue responsibilities, leaving aside the vexed issues of sovereignty, oil drilling, pollution and shipping.

Other stories highlighted the cooperative outlines of the pact, but once those diplomatic cables circulated in the media, the headlines shifted back to the conflict theme:

Warming Arctic Opens Way to Competition for Resources

For additional background on the issues at play, see this book review I wrote last year.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: arctic, Arctic Treaty

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About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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