"Arctic shipping will remain of limited importance to China, as it will for the rest of the world. Future shipping in the Polar region will mostly consist of seasonal destinational transport, delivering supplies into the Arctic for its increasing economic activity and transporting the region's natural resources to markets in East Asia."
Department of Defense released their Arctic Strategy in November 2013, following the National Arctic Strategy released by the White House in May 2013. The strategy analyzes the security environment in the region.
"This winter, the maximum total Antarctic sea ice extent was reported to be 19.47 million square metres, which is 3.6% above the winter average calculated from 1981 to 2010. This continues a trend that is weakly positive and remains in stark contrast to the decline in Arctic summer sea ice extent (2013 was 18% below the mean from 1981-2010). To further complicate this picture, we find this net increase actually masks strong declines in particular regions around Antarctica, such as in the Bellingshausen Sea, which are on par or greater than those in the Artic."
On October 16, 2013, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, France, New Zealand, the United States and The Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Union released a joint statement on establishing marine protected areas in Southern Ocean, in the Ross Sea Region and in East Antarctica, for scientific research and ocean conservation.
No matter what one thinks should be done about global warming, the fact is, it's happening. And its effects are not all bad. In the Arctic, it is turning an impassible region into an emerging epicenter of industry and trade.
As human activity intensifies in the Arctic, U.S. interests would be best represented by a reinforced Coast Guard, exercising the role it carries out in other coastal areas, writes CFR Military Fellow Peter Troedsson.
Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp released this maritime governance document on May 21, 2013, which will "guide our efforts in the region over the next 10 years" based on "three key objectives: improving awareness, modernizing governance, and broadening partnerships."
Many observers have noted that the loss of Arctic ice is already leading to stepped-up human activity in the high north, particularly in the form of increasing commercial traffic and development. This trend has brought forth a range of issues on the geopolitical front, from environmental protection to search-and-rescue capabilities to the delineation of national boundaries—which will determine access to natural resources. These concerns are being addressed cooperatively in both bilateral and multilateral fashion, especially under the aegis of the Arctic Council and the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Arctic region is undergoing unprecedented and disruptive change. Its climate is changing more rapidly than anywhere else on earth. Rising temperatures are causing a retreat of sea ice and changes to seasonal length, weather patterns and ecosystems. These changes have prompted a reassessment of economic and development potential in the Arctic and are giving rise to a set of far-reaching political developments.
A comprehensive guide to how international institutions, governments, and NGOs around the world are attempting to combat climate change. This is part of the Global Governance Monitor, an interactive feature tracking multilateral approaches to several global challenges.
Author: Captain Melissa Bert, USCG American Foreign Policy Interests
Captain Melissa M. Bert, USCG saysnow is the time for the Obama administration to advance a comprehensive Arctic strategy that addresses both governance and acquisition requirements, or it risks further harm to the economic and national security of the United States.
Unlike its Arctic neighbors, the United States is failing to take full advantage of the tremendous economic potential of the Arctic region. Captain Melissa Bert argues for U.S. ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention; international polar shipping standards; and an aircraft, icebreaker, and shore-based infrastructure acquisition program funded by Arctic oil and gas lease proceeds.
Frank G. Klotz argues that the United States has important national interests in Antarctica, and these interests must be fully understood and carefully considered, especially as the federal government looks for ways to reduce the deficit.
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