The Arctic Is Heating Up — Politically

After briefly considering ways the Artic might be peacefully shared, governments have again begun eying the thawing region more strategically, both for new shipping lanes and for increasingly accessible resources, a Swedish historian said in Chicago Friday.
"We have again a slightly hotter conflict around natural resources in that particular region," said Sverker Sörlin, a professor of environmental history at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
"Lots of hype going on around the Arctic these days."
Sörlin has studied a line of Artic research, conducted primarily by Scandinavian scientists, that dates back to the late 19th Century. Much of that research pioneered or anticipated contemporary research on climate change.
But motivations for Arctic research occasionally changed, Sörlin told about 25 people gathered at Wilder House, home of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT).
During the Cold War, governments viewed the Arctic strategically, as a potential area for launching or waging war, Sörlin said. As a result, they invested in studying changes to the Arctic climate.
"If the climate would change it would affect how you landed planes, how you could travel with ships, and how you could basically organize the war."
As the cold war subsided, nations briefly viewed the Arctic as a kind of peace dividend to be shared. But thawing Artic ice means new routes for shipping and easier access to oil and gas the Arctic region holds.
This story is a sidebar. See Related Stories:
Climate Skepticism Begins With Climate Scientists

Tip Jar: If you found value on this page, please consider tipping the author.