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NEWS: A battle to ‘carve up’ the Arctic

Al Jazeera reports, “It is considered the final frontier for oil and gas exploitation, and secret US embassy cables published by WikiLeaks confirm that nations are battling to ‘carve up’ the Arctic’s vast resources.”

“Along with exposing an estimated 22 per cent of the world’s oil, ice melting due to global warming will open new shipping lanes, the arteries of global commerce, which nations are competing to control.”

“Canada, the US, Russia, Norway, Denmark, (Russia) and perhaps even China, have competing claims to the Arctic, a region about the size of Africa, comprising some six per cent of the Earth’s surface.”

“The cables come to light at a time when academics and activists fear resource scarcity, particularly over dwindling oil and drinking water supplies, could lead to new international conflicts.”

“The idea that global warming will melt polar ice caps and allow for new petroleum exploitation in the far north represents a terrible irony, says Andrea Harden-Donahue, a researcher with the Council of Canadians, a social justice organisation.”

“‘Climate change is making these resources easier to exploit, while burning these resources will only contribute to more climate change,’ she says. ‘In Canada, we have seen a number of well-known actors, including BP and Chevron, exploring for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea. In the US, Shell is consistently trying to get access to resources off the coast of Alaska; BP hopes to develop off the coast of Russia and Cairn energy have already been awarded licenses in Greenland and they are likely to start [drilling] this year. If [these companies] are allowed to move forward, I don’t think it is unreasonable that we would see a scramble for these resources.'”

The full article is at http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/05/201151713273937174.html.