Actually, more of a “uh-oh” than a “eureka”…
“The most direct shipping route from Europe to Asia is fully clear of ice for the first time since records began, the European Space Agency (Esa) says.
Historically, the Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans has been ice-bound through the year.
But the agency says ice cover has been steadily shrinking, and this summer’s reduction has made the route navigable.
The findings, based on satellite images, raised concerns about the speed of global warming.”
Read the rest here: BBC NEWS | Americas | Warming ‘opens Northwest Passage’
Both Canada and Russia have noticed and so have staked claims on their parts of the ocean now navigable because of retreating sheet ice. I am sure that the US and Denmark would not be far behind since Alaska and Greenland abut the once frozen north. One can easily imagine a time in the not so distant future where there will be an economic stake in *not* reversing global warming because having an open northwest passage opens up the northern parts of North America and Eurasia for economic exploitation. All that oil, coal, and mineral wealth that has been inaccessible or expensive to pull out because it was too cold to work and there was not convenient shipping, could become relatively cheap.
To exploit the now open north not only for shipping but for mineral extraction–especially those that add to global warming– would truly be fiddling while Rome burns!
Russia’s claims were based on the extension of a 200 mile economic zone around an underwater structure which they purported was part of the Russian mainland. Canada’s claim is to what amounts to quite narrow passages through the Arctic islands which are indisputably Canadian territory. The two claims are completely different.
True enough. I have heard that the US doesn’t want to recognize either claim…the (very) dubious Russian one nor the clearer Canadian one. Why? They want all of the area that were under the polar ice caps and now navigable to be understood as international waters. I wasn’t speaking about the validity of the claims, but my concern that with the opening of more northern waters, we will be begin to see more exploitation of the resources, especially those that add to global warming.