Arctic nations joust but North Pole payoff may be years away

By David J. Lynch

Arctic Newswire

WASHINGTON — Even as melting Arctic glaciers threaten to swamp shorelines, nations from Russia to the United States are betting that warming temperatures also will unlock trillions of dollars in new wealth.

“It is potentially the biggest strategic opportunity in America since the Louisiana Purchase in 1803,” said Scott Borgerson, a former Coast Guard officer and now an adviser at Catalyst Maritime.

Read the full article here. 

Why the Next Arctic-Drilling Fight Might Be Over Before it Begins


National Journal

August 28, 2015 On paper, the Obama administration is slated to sell new drilling leases in Arctic waters next year, giving big energy companies new opportunities to seek oil and natural gas that may lie beneath the icy seas. And on paper, the auction would surely inflame the longstanding left-right fight between Arctic development and conservation, putting the Obama administration between energy companies and environmentalists one more time before the president leaves office.

But off paper, and in the real world, there’s reason to believe this one isn’t actually going to happen—at least not before President Obama vacates the White House.

Obama’s Alaska trip will help him present a more dramatic view of climate change

By Jean Chemnick and Christa Marshall

Environment & Energy Publishing

President Obama’s summer climate change tour will culminate in the Alaskan Arctic next week, putting him in a setting that has experienced the country’s most dramatic climatic changes and one that Obama hopes will help him boost public support. He will need that for the critical piece in his climate legacy puzzle — a meaningful global deal in Paris in three months.

US’ first 100 days of its Arctic Council Chairmanship

The Arctic Institute

The US recently reached the 100 days milestone of its Arctic Council Chairmanship. What has been achieved, what have been the main weaknesses and how should the Chairmanship move forward? Heather Exner-Pirot, advisor to The Arctic Institute, here shares her perspective to these central questions.

Read the full article here. 

White House video previews Obama’s visit to Alaska

Erica Martinson, Alaska Dispatch News
August 13, 2015

President Barack Obama will use his trip to Alaska later this month as the backdrop of a message to the world about climate change, he announced in a video message…

Obama plans to take his trip beyond the streets of Anchorage and will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Alaska’s Arctic…

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As the Arctic Thaws, New Temptations

The New York Times

Russia made a formal claim to a vast stretch of Arctic territory on Tuesday before the United Nations committee that oversees sea boundaries. The move is, in itself, neither surprising nor threatening.

As the Arctic rapidly thaws and surrenders access to its awesome wealth of energy and precious minerals, it is inevitable that nations in the far north will stake claims over huge exclusive economic zones beyond their northern shores, while powers like the European Union or China will demand a say in how the riches and shipping routes are apportioned.

The return of the Arctic Five

By Heather Exner-Pirot

Alaska Dispatch News

Earlier this month, the five Arctic Ocean coastal states signed a much heralded moratorium on fishing in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean, or more specifically, adopted “interim measures to prevent unregulated fishing.”

As the states themselves acknowledge, there is no commercial fishing there now and it is unlikely there will be any in the near future. However, they agreed to apply the precautionary principle, and ensured that if and when Arctic ecosystems evolve to reflect climate changes and commercial fisheries become viable, none will take place until a suitable regional fisheries management organization is in place.