Antarctica, though a huge continental archipelago, measuring 24 million square kilometers, and covered in ice that is 4-5 kilometers thick, is far from any inhabited continent. The Arctic is only water, with the North Pole itself 4,200 meters under the surface. But five countries are very close: Norway, Russia, the United States, Canada, and Denmark (via Greenland, which will become independent in the coming years).Throughout most of human history, ice almost completely barred all navigation in the seas surrounding the North Pole, and the Arctic was asleep in a silent indifference. Everything has changed radically during the last three years.Canada Goose händler österreich The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has established that global warming is not uniform: whereas temperatures rose, on average, by 0.6°C in the twentieth century, the increase in the Arctic region was 2°.

Some estimates suggest that about 20% of the world’s total oil reserves lie under the Arctic. In 2008, for the first time in human history, two navigation channels through the polar ice field – in the East along Siberia, and in the West along the Canadian islands – were open for a few months,Canada Goose händler österreich allowing boats to go from Europe to Japan or California via the Bering Straits, rather than the Panama Canal or the Horn of Africa, thereby saving some 4,000 or 5,000 kilometers.Given global warming, this may now become a regular occurrence: thousands of ships will pass through the Arctic passages, emptying their fuel tanks and causing oil slicks and other forms of pollution. This poses a real threat to the Eskimo and Inuit populations, as well as to polar bears.

Moreover, according to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, countries’ enjoy absolute sovereignty in the first 12 nautical miles (about 20 kilometers) of their coastal waters sea, and almost absolute sovereignty,Canada Goose händler österreich limited by a few conventions, within 200 nautical miles (360 kilometers) of their coasts. Any country that can prove that the seabed beyond 200 nautical miles is an extension of the continental shelf on which it is sovereign can claim sovereignty over it as well.Russia, which three years ago used a submarine to plant a platinum copy of its national flag at the North Pole, claims sovereignty over 37% of the surface of the Arctic Ocean. The territories claimed by Russia include the North Pole and a huge oil field. If this oil is exploited, the pollution risks will be far higher than anywhere else. And could Russia, given its rearmament policy, be planning to set up underwater missile launch sites?It is therefore urgently necessary to negotiate a treaty that guarantees peace and environmental protection in the Arctic region. It will probably be very difficult to achieve, but the effort should be viewed as a great cause for humankind.