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Potts, T. & Schofield, C. (2009). The Arctic: a race for resources or sustainable ocean development. Ocean Challenge, 16 (3), 23-33.


The Arctic Ocean is a semi-enclosed sea surrounded by five coastal states: Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway (Svalbard), the Russian Federation and the United States of America (Figure 1). Since the planting of a Russian flag on the sea-bed at the North Pole in August 2007 there have been renewed efforts by the other Arctic Ocean littoral states to reinforce their claims in the region. This, combined with the dramatic decrease in the extent of summer sea-ice, means that the Arctic has become a focus of global media, scientific and government attention. Much of this Arctic narrative has been decidedly alarmist, not to say misleading, featuring tales of a 'scramble' or 'race' for the Arctic, and talk of an Arctic 'land-grab' or 'gold rush'. Underlying the expectation of resource-driven competition between nations staking claims in the Arctic is the perception that the Arctic represents a potential scene for geopolitical confrontation or the basis for a new Cold War.

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