Scramble for Arctic oil and gas puts pristine ecosystem at risk

From the Ecologist, via The Free:

Mark Jansen // 6th June, 2011

The Arctic is becoming a battleground as Russia, Norway, Canada and the US vie for access to oil, gas and minerals – campaigners fear safety and the environment will be the losers

one cannot exclude that in the future there will be…armed intervention

The Arctic covers 30 million square km, has 24 time zones and is home to just four million people. It also has vast reserves of oil and gas, not to mention diamonds, platinum, nickel and iron.

Those reserves have been known about for centuries, yet a combination of new extraction technology and rising demand means that the human race is ready to start ripping them out – raising the threat of devastating pollution to a uniquely clean environment and worsening the problem of global warming, even as the ice caps are melting.

Greenpeace claims they could even cause a war in the region, with releases this month by Wikileaks, the whistle-blowing website, showing how the scramble for oil and gas in the Arctic is sparking military tension. Norway’s foreign minister is quoted as saying regular military flights by the Russians up and down Norway’s coast had helped to justify the purchase of four new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter combat aircraft to the Norwegian public. Meanwhile, the head of the Russian navy is quoted as saying ‘one cannot exclude that in the future there will be a redistribution of power [in the region], up to armed intervention.’

Instead of seeing the melting of the Arctic ice cap as a spur to action on climate change, point out campaigners, Arctic nations are preferring to invest in military hardware to fight for the oil beneath it.

Read more HERE

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