Canada to reaffirm sovereignty over High Arctic waters at conference


Praxius
#1
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/0...onference.html

Quote:

Canada is committed to defending and protecting its sovereignty in the waters of the High Arctic as it begins the process of mapping the northern territory with other nations, says the federal minister of natural resources.

Gary Lunn is travelling to Ilulissat, Greenland, on Tuesday to discuss Canada's claim to the northern seabed with officials from Denmark, Norway, the United States and Russia, who are also looking to secure their piece of the Arctic pie.

"There's a lot of co-operation between countries that is happening, but it's important that we have strong presence on the world stage," said Lunn.

The three-day conference is expected to discuss rules, dictated by the UN Law of the Sea Convention, on dividing jurisdiction over the High Arctic waters, one of the most rapidly changing parts of the world due to climate change.

As the ice continues to melt, countries with continental shelves on the Arctic Ocean are increasingly concerned over who controls the territory and its resources.

"It's critically important that it's under our sovereign control so that we set the parameters for the environment and that we make the decisions whether or not even to allow exploration," Lunn said Monday.

Under the UN law, signed by Canada in 2003, the five northern countries may be able to extend their sovereignty beyond the usual 200-nautical-mile limit recognized in international law if the seabed is an extension of the continental shelf.

Canada's claim includes a swath of ocean floor stretching to the North Pole that would be the equivalent in size to the three Prairie provinces combined. Canada has until 2013 to submit its claim on the area, which stretches from the Yukon to the eastern Arctic.

The area in question wouldn't be subject to any sort of overlapping claim with other countries, Lunn said. Canada's territorial disputes in the Arctic, such as the location of the boundary between the Yukon and Alaska and the control of the Northwest Passage, aren't expected to be major topics at the conference.
Firms already after oil, gas reserves

The High Arctic seabed is coveted for its potential oil and gas reserves, not just along the coast of Beaufort Sea but at the North Pole. Estimates put about 25 per cent of the world's remaining oil and gas reserves beneath the Arctic's ocean floor.

Energy firms have already begun exploring the waters off Greenland, while large deposits of gas are known to exist off the islands of the Canadian archipelago, as well as the coasts of the Northwest Territories and Alaska.

Inhospitable conditions, including extreme cold and six months of darkness every year, make the Far North a difficult place for exploration.

"There's an interest in those resources, but more immediate in the area is the fact that there will be more international shipping over the top of the world as the ice starts to melt," the CBC's Margo McDiarmid reported Tuesday from Ottawa.

The nautical journey from China to New York, for example, is 7,000 kilometres shorter if travelled across the Arctic waters over the top of the world rather than through the Panama Canal.

As new passages are established by melting ice, Canada will be increasingly open to international traffic across and around its borders.

"The fear is that there will be more international shipping, more cruise ships, and there needs to be some kind of control, especially for Canada for those ships travelling through its waters," McDiarmid said.

Lunn emphasized that boundaries in the High Arctic must be defined by science, but would not speculate on the possible outcomes of the conference, saying only "we want to reaffirm our commitment on the world stage."

The conference is also expected to address co-operation between the five countries on maritime safety, environmental protection and search and rescue.

I can never understand their mentality.... "Oh... the ice is melting up there and opening up all kinds of new paths to travel due to climate change.... perhaps due to pollution, so let's send a crap load more ships north and start building more oil refineries and add more population up there, increase the pollution even more, and then open the ice even further...."

Smooth move ex-laxes.
 
Lester
#2
Soon there won't be anything left untouched on this planet.
 
Colpy
#3
So....Praxius and Lester:

Am I to take it from your posts that you would prefer us to abandon our claim to our Arctic territory and leave the shipping lanes and natural resources to the tender mercies of the Danes, the Russians, and (gasp!) the Americans?
 
EagleSmack
#4
Well the Danes and Russians have already laid claim as well.
 
Praxius
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy View Post

So....Praxius and Lester:

Am I to take it from your posts that you would prefer us to abandon our claim to our Arctic territory and leave the shipping lanes and natural resources to the tender mercies of the Danes, the Russians, and (gasp!) the Americans?

I didn't even respond to anything of the above, but my answer is no. But we don't need to allow everybody under the sun to travel through the Artic to keep our claim either.
 
EagleSmack
#6
That is a lot of ocean/ice up there. The Danes and the Russians already planted their flags which shows their views on Canadian sovreignty in that area.
 
lone wolf
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

That is a lot of ocean/ice up there. The Danes and the Russians already planted their flags which shows their views on Canadian sovreignty in that area.

The Russian flag was planted at the North Pole - which is NOT in Canadian waters. The Danish flag was placed on an inconsequential rock in the middle of Nares Strait (which WAS a choke point for Boomers in a bygone era)
 
EagleSmack
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolf View Post

The Russian flag was planted at the North Pole - which is NOT in Canadian waters. The Danish flag was placed on an inconsequential rock in the middle of Nares Strait (which WAS a choke point for Boomers in a bygone era)

What is the legal limit as to what a country can claim? For example...If Canada did lay claim would it be unique for a country to claim as much oceanic territory?
 
lone wolf
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

What is the legal limit as to what a country can claim? For example...If Canada did lay claim would it be unique for a country to claim as much oceanic territory?

Legally, I understand it to be 20 km (12miles) from the low water shoreline of the closest land mass or equidistant between soverign territories. Russia claims Lomonosov Ridge to be part of their continental shelf (which is an area I don't understand) therefore part of their territory. If truth be known, that would give Denmark an equal claim because the ridge re-emerges from under the Arctic Ocean as Greenland.
Last edited by lone wolf; May 27th, 2008 at 06:40 PM..
 
Lester
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy View Post

So....Praxius and Lester:

Am I to take it from your posts that you would prefer us to abandon our claim to our Arctic territory and leave the shipping lanes and natural resources to the tender mercies of the Danes, the Russians, and (gasp!) the Americans?

I should have put a <sigh> in there, just lamenting the fact that not to long ago there were places on this planet untouched by humans. But I agree with you we'd be stupid not to lay claim to it.
 
Praxius
#11
I agree with the claiming of the area since we'd have to suffer most of what will occur up there compared to most.... but the thing I don't care much for is the amount of talking they're doing of industrializing the whole area for more oil and trade routes.

People are already complaining about how the ice caps are melting and they're freaking about the world's distruction due to it.... yet the above seems to be such a perfect idea? Just another reason why I feel the whole global warming thing is bullsh*t, because the the giant pile of contradictions of actions compared to talk and "Studies" and then the above..... if everybody was so freaky-deeky about the climate, then why is mining, trading and digging for oil up there seem like such a brilliant idea?
 
I think not
#12
And when Global Warming suddenly "reverses", everybody will stop thinking about Arctic claims.
 
lone wolf
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by I think not View Post

And when Global Warming suddenly "reverses", everybody will stop thinking about Arctic claims.

There's a big three-letter reminder: O-I-L

Woof!
 
I think not
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolf View Post

There's a big three-letter reminder: O-I-L

Certainly that makes sense, providing it is economically viable to even consider it, which hasn't been the case so far.
 
lone wolf
#15
So far, there's been an unpredictable sheet of ice over it. Once the exploration's done and the tube's in the pool, they can line the seabed with pipe. As the cost of a barrel of oil rises and open seas call - it's viable.
 
I think not
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolf View Post

So far, there's been an unpredictable sheet of ice over it. Once the exploration's done and the tube's in the pool, they can line the seabed with pipe. As the cost of a barrel of oil rises and open seas call - it's viable.

Let's not forget a large part of oil being high is the destruction of oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The prediction is 2012 for oil to begin the decline again.

Where would that leave the Arctic coupled with the possibility of the Arctic regaining ice coverage?
 
lone wolf
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by I think not View Post

Let's not forget a large part of oil being high is the destruction of oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The prediction is 2012 for oil to begin the decline again.

Where would that leave the Arctic coupled with the possibility of the Arctic regaining ice coverage?

Once oil is running, the pumping station doesn't have to be onsite. The Arctic can freeze over again. Surface ice won't disturb pipes on the seafloor. Open water just makes it viable to float drilling rigs in.
 

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