Who Owns the Arctic?: Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North

Who Owns the Arctic?: Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North

Michael Byers

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 1553654994

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Who actually controls the Northwest Passage? Who owns the trillions of dollars of oil and gas beneath the Arctic Ocean? Which territorial claims will prevail, and why — those of the United States, Russia, Canada, or the Nordic nations? And, in an age of rapid climate change, how do we protect the fragile Arctic environment while seizing the economic opportunities presented by the rapidly melting sea-ice? Michael Byers, a leading Arctic expert and international lawyer clearly and concisely explains the sometimes contradictory rules governing the division and protection of the Arctic and the disputes over the region that still need to be resolved. What emerges is a vision for the Arctic in which cooperation, not conflict, prevails and where the sovereignty of individual nations is exercised for the benefit of all. This insightful little book is an informed primer for today's most pressing territorial issue.












musk-ox, buffalo, wapiti, or elk. These prohibitions apply to all persons, including Canadian nationals. Significantly, non-aboriginals were prohibited not just from hunting and trapping in the High Arctic but from all commercial activities there. The letter from the British chargé d’affaires concluded with a conciliatory but meaningless offer: Should, however, the regulations be altered at any time in the future, His Majesty’s Government in Canada would treat with the most friendly

related to those claims rather than misdirecting the Canadian public.” A similar sentiment was concurrently expressed by four Canadian historians and political scientists. In their book Arctic Front, Ken Coates, Whitney Lackenbauer, William Morrison and Greg Poelzer wrote: An Arctic strategy based on current headlines will not work. Today’s threats relate to boundaries and resources. Tomorrow, environmental considerations will likely dominate the news, followed by accounts of further

everything through the terrorism prism. Our top priority is to stop the terrorists. So perhaps when this is brought to the table again, we may have to take another look.” Five months later, Cellucci revealed that he had asked the State Department to re-examine the U.S. position in light of the terrorist threat. And in October 2006, the by-then former ambassador made his personal views clear: “It is in the security interests of the United States that it [ the Northwest Passage ] be under the

breaking ice for commercial vessels — including foreign ones. The Coast Guard already breaks ice for cargo ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Saguenay River during the winter months. A new icebreaker in Hudson Bay could add months to the shipping season at Churchill. Additional icebreakers could ensure safe transits for commercial vessels through the Northwest Passage, initially for three or four months, and before long throughout the year. Arctic hubs for the transportation of goods to

resource management regime.” More pointedly, the Protocol specifies: “The parties acknowledge that it is the position of the GN and NTI that the ultimate objective of devolution is the transfer of administration and control in respect of Crown lands and resources in all areas, both onshore and in the seabed.” It also specifies: “The parties further acknowledge that it is the position of the GN and NTI that a devolution agreement should make no distinction between resource management regimes

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