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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

Oil from the Arctic: Is it time for an Arctic Treaty?

The Arctic island of Svalbard from the air

An oil spill would have drastic consequences for the pristine Arctic environment

Given the increased interest in drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic as the area becomes more accessible in a changing climate, concern is also growing about the dangers an accident could pose to the fragile environment of the “high North”.  An editorial in the publication NATURE argues that we need a binding agreement like the Antarctic Treaty to protect the Arctic from pollution.The author recalls the 60th anniversary this month of the “Hope Bay Incident”, a dispute between Argentina and Britain over a base in the Antarctic, as a reminder that the Antarctic wasn’t always reserved for science and research as it is at the moment thanks to the international treaty. “The high north is no longer a place of interest to only a select few”, says the author.

New oil and gas development is underway off the coasts of Norway, Greenland, Alaska and Russia, presenting a huge risk to the fragile Arctic environment. Non-Arctic nations including China and India have asked for representation on the Arctic Council. The publication says nations in the Arctic Circle should have the biggest say in what goes on up the air, but all interested countries should be offered a voice, with a view to creating an agreement to avoid polluting the Arctic. The call is not new, but more urgent than ever.

A few more articles on this subject on dw:

Arctic melts faster than IPCC’s forecasts

Arctic nations eye region’s potential

Researchers learn lessons from Deepwater Horizon spill







February 7, 2012 | 12:57 pm