8 October 2012
Norman Pagett writes:
Any species that feeds and breeds unchecked on a sphere must by definition run out of space when it reaches its polar extremities. When the Russians planted their flag on the undersea point of the North Pole on August 2nd 2007, it represented the peak of mankind’s relentless quest to extract the maximum energy from the world’s resources. The Arctic is the last place left to look for what we need to sustain our oil-fuelled lifestyle, and the Russians were indicating that they are prepared to grab what they can of it. Pressures are forcing all of us to look for new areas of exploitation, the Russians just got there first. Hardly surprising, since their coastline is the longest on the Arctic seaboard.
Russia is following the existing United Nations on convention on national rights over territorial waters for now, but by planting the Russian flag on the seabed, it staked the claim that the Russian continental shelf extended to the pole itself.
After regarding the Arctic as a frozen wasteland, inaccessible to anyone, other nations have been jolted into action by setting up military bases in the region
There are five nations with seaboards onto the Arctic ocean, each claiming territorial waters 200 miles out, leaving a central ‘free zone’ to be contested over.
All major conflict between nations has been about the grab for resources and wars have been fought for many centuries, the arctic will be no exception as Canada, the United States, Norway and Denmark (Greenland) line up territorial claims on what will be the last great source of oil and gas in the world.
The Antarctic? Sure, that’s certain to contain oil gas and colossal amounts of other mineral wealth too, and releasing the hydrocarbon under the Arctic ocean is going to add to the global heat necessary to defrost the Antarctic continent as well. If that other pole releases its icy grip on its secrets, the world sea levels will rise by anything up to 100ft, and make our oil fueled world a footnote in history.