Monday, November 30, 2009

The Far North

This morning I gave my presentation in International Studies class about the Arctic. Pretty interesting place, actually, and the region is becoming increasingly important both economically and politically. A few highlights:
  • Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States all regard parts of the Arctic seas as "national waters."
  • The Arctic Council oversees non-military issues faced by Arctic states and indigenous groups.
  • Some climate models predict that trans-Arctic voyages may be possible within a decade, which would cut shipping times from East Asia to Northern Europe by 40%.
  • The long-elusive Northwest Passage actually exists.
  • In 2009 the US Geological Survey estimated that the Arctic contains 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and about 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil (mostly offshore).
  • Two years ago, Russia dispatched a nuclear-powered icebreaker and two submarines to plant its flag on the North Pole's sea floor:
. . .

P.S. I recently found out that it is possible to have a car accident without turning the engine on.