An underwater feature called the Lomonosov Ridge extends from Russia's New Siberian Islands, across the North Pole and to Canada's Ellesmere Island. Denmark is working to prove that this oceanic ridge is actually an extension of Greenland. Each nation claims that the ridge is an extension of its continental shelf. According to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea, a nation has exclusive rights to the resources that lie on the continental shelf that extends from the nation.
Russia is sending an expedition to the North Pole to send a minisub to plant a flag on the ridge and backs it claim for ownership of the ridge.
Canada, in response, ordered C$7 billion in new military equipment and facilities to assert Canada's claim on Arctic resources. "The ongoing discovery of the north's resource riches, coupled with the potential impact of climate change, has made the region a growing area of interest and concern," said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty over the Arctic. We either use it or lose it. And make no mistake, this government intends to use it."
Denmark, in the meantime, is working with the Canadians to prove that the Lomonosov Ridge is an extension of Greenland (a Danish territory) and Ellesmere Island. The Danes are hopeful that international cooperation and treaties will prevail.
Canada's new Arctic warships won't be ready until 2012. With renewing belligerence between Russia, Western Europe, and the United States, how long will it be before Canada and Denmark request American assistance in asserting their claims to Arctic mineral resources? Is continued easy motoring really worth going up against a nuclear power?
- Daily Green North Pole in colonial crosshairs.
- BusinessWeek Russia seeks claim to Arctic seabed.
- CBC Canada running out of time on Arctic claim.
- Globe & Mail: Less talk, more action.
Professor Michael Byers of the University of British Columbia says the neither the Conservative government nor its Liberal predecessor have put enough time or money into defending the country's economic zone near the North Pole.
- TreeHugger Russia claims North Pole.