Eclipse Sound, Nunavut, at midnight (photo by Michael Byers)
POLI 369B(3): International Politics of the Arctic (Fall 2013)
For decades, the Arctic was on the frontlines of the Cold War. Today, the region is changing at an unprecedented rate due to climate change, peak oil, and the efforts of coastal states to secure offshore jurisdictional claims. This upper-year undergraduate course canvasses a range of political and legal issues, from the disputes over Hans Island and the boundary in the Beaufort Sea, to shipping in the Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route, to the assertion of sovereign rights over areas of seabed more than 200 nautical miles from shore, to the protection of high seas fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. The environmental, security and geopolitical dimensions of a rapidly opening Arctic will also be considered, along with the role of indigenous peoples and the Arctic Council.
VANCOUVER (The News Desk) — As the holiday season approaches, children all across Canada have begun “counting the sleeps” until Dec. 6, the deadline for Canada’s extended continental shelf submission as specified in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Canada’s claim, which is hotly anticipated by international legal scholars and nine-year-olds alike, will reflect the country’s official position on a number of disputed sea boundaries.
“I can’t wait,” said Justin Kent, a fourth-grader from Queen Mary Elementary School in Vancouver, B.C.
“Finally Canada will clarify its place in the Arctic.”
Unlike Canada, Iceland seizes the opportunities that climate change creates.
TORONTO STAR / LINDA BARNARD
A sleek, contemporary portrayal of a Viking ship sits on the shores of Reykjavik. Canada can learn a great deal from both Icelanders and their Norse ancestors when it comes to boldness.
Michael Byers, Toronto Star, 28 October 2013
It’s hard to imagine Stephen Harper in an open boat, sailing boldly across a cold and stormy ocean in search of a New World.
The prime minister’s recent throne speech, which focused on cable TV packages and cellphone rates, was distinctly unambitious. It failed to even mention climate change, which scientists are warning could soon accelerate beyond control.
Harper’s “agreement in principle” on free trade with Europe was equally modest, just smoothening out a few wrinkled edges in a relationship long subject to the strictures of the WTO. It ducked the single biggest trade issue with Europe, which concerns the possibility of sanctions directed against the production and export of carbon-intensive fuels.
In contrast to Harper, Icelanders exhibit all the boldness of their Norse ancestors as they both confront the threat of climate change and seize the resulting opportunities.
Arctic oil spill response agreement weakened by conflicting interests
Michael Byers & Mark Stoller
Arctic oil spills are a growing concern, but who will act to prevent and prepare for them? The Arctic Ocean coastal states are torn between their economic interests in developing offshore oil, and increasing public pressure for meaningful environmental protection. They recently opted for symbolism over substance by adopting an Arctic Oil Spill Response Agreement that adds little to international law. ...
For the rest of the text, see the European Union's Arctic Portal .
The country’s military is having trouble coming up with enough money to buy new rifles to replace the 60-year-old guns used in the Arctic by the Canadian Rangers.
Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper highlighted the work performed by the Rangers when he joined them in Nunavut in August for target practice with their aging Lee Enfield rifles, even that high level of interest is not enough to move the $10-million replacement project quickly forward, say military sources.
Wendy Steuck, The Globe and Mail, 19 September 2013
VANCOUVER - Earlier this month, the ice-strengthened bulk carrier Nordic Orion was loaded with coal at a Vancouver terminal. From there, it headed to Finland via the Northwest Passage, undertaking a voyage that could make it the first commercial bulk carrier to traverse the route since the SS Manhattan broke through in 1969.