As the Earth’s icy north melts due to Global warming the countries around the Arctic ocean make a mad rush to gain control of its natural resources.
The latest report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the ice cap is warming faster than the rest of the planet and ice is receding, partly due to greenhouse gases. It’s a catastrophic scenario for the Arctic ecosystem, for polar bears and other wildlife, and for Inuit populations whose ancient cultures depend on frozen waters.
But some see a lucrative silver lining of riches waiting to be snatched from the deep, and the prospect of timesaving sea lanes that could transform the shipping industry the way the Suez Canal did in the 19th century.
The US Geological Survey estimates the Arctic has as much as 25 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas. Russia reportedly sees the potential of minerals in its slice of the Arctic sector approaching $2 trillion.
All this has pushed governments and businesses into a scramble for sovereignty over these suddenly priceless seas.