An Arctic scramble?: Opportunities and threats in the (formerly) frozen north
The planting of a flag in a titanium canister on the seabed at the North Pole in August 2007 on the part of the Russian Federation and efforts by the other Arctic Ocean littoral states to reinforce their territorial and, particularly, maritime jurisdictional claims in the region, led to the Arctic becoming the focus of considerable global media attention in recent months. Much of this coverage has been alarmist in tone, replete with tales of a “scramble”1 or “race”2 for the Arctic, talk of an Arctic “land-grab”,3 and unease over a resultant Arctic resource “gold rush”.4 Although some of the media and even diplomatic responses have been, to say the least, somewhat misleading, these events have been set against the backdrop of some startling and potentially profound changes to the Arctic environment which have also served to heighten concerns over events in the region. Th e aim of this paper is to highlight key developments and explore some of the legal and policy issues that arise.