Arctic

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Group.png Arctic  Rdf-icon.png

The Arctic [1] is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Northern Canada, Norway, Russia and Sweden. Land within the Arctic region has seasonally varying snow and ice cover, with predominantly treeless permafrost (permanently frozen underground ice)-containing tundra. Arctic seas contain seasonal sea ice in many places.

Ecology

The Arctic region is a unique area among Earth's ecosystems. For example, the cultures in the region and the Arctic indigenous peoples have adapted to its cold and extreme conditions. Life in the Arctic includes organisms living in the ice, zooplankton and phytoplankton, fish and marine mammals, birds, land animals, plants and human societies.[2] Arctic land is bordered by the subarctic.

Arctic Council

States with territory in the Arctic can be members of the Arctic Council:

The Arctic Council is “the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

The Arctic Institute describes the Council as “a model for global governance. It is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives, committed to evidence based decision-making, and a champion of regional peace and stability.” Of great importance is the fact that its mandate, as laid down in the Ottawa Declaration of 1996, explicitly excludes military matters.

New Cold War

Up until now it has been a shining and all-too-rare example of international cooperation which has resulted in production of valuable environmental, ecological and social assessments.

But Washington intends to change all that. Instead of contributing to the Council’s aims of championing peace and stability, it has adopted its only too familiar stance of confrontation and patronising criticism.[5]

Arctic sea lanes

In May 2019 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking at the prestigious Arctic Council biennial meeting in Finland, christened the Arctic meltdown:

“A wonderful economic opportunity for international trade. Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals."

Pompeo also called the region, which has lost nearly 90,000 square miles of sea ice since last year, "the forefront of opportunity and abundance. It houses 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore, he said.”[6]


References

  1. Company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. "The American Heritage Dictionary entry: arctic". www.ahdictionary.com. Retrieved 4 January 2019.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  2. Christopher Krembs and Jody Deming. "Organisms that thrive in Arctic sea ice" National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 18 November 2006.
  3. "About the Arctic Council". The Arctic Council. April 7, 2011. Retrieved Sep 6, 2013.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  4. Member States
  5. "Washington’s New Cold War to Control the Arctic"
  6. "Pompeo’s Arctic Shipping Lanes"
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