Climate Change Could Chill International Relations in Arctic
A new cold war is on the horizon in international politics, warns a report co-authored by a University of Saskatchewan researcher.
This cold war is a fight over commercial opportunities in the Arctic, an increasingly important issue in international relations as climate change thaws out frozen transportation routes, says the report, Climate Change and International Security: The Arctic as a Bellwether.
“The Arctic is the first place where we’re starting to see the security impacts of climate change and the geopolitical tensions,” said Heather Exner-Pirot, a researcher with the U of S International Centre for Northern Governance and Development.
“It’s about oil and gas. These weren’t accessible before. This would never have been profitable if the Arctic was still frozen. Now you can go in there with ships.”
Strategic transportation routes - which can shorten trips by up to two weeks - are opening up in the Arctic because of a rapid decline in sea ice cover that has outpaced scientific projections, said the report, which Exner-Pirot co-wrote with University of Calgary researchers Rob Huebert and Adam Lajeunesse, along with Jay Gulledge from the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions.