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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Arctic Council
The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum which addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic. - Source: Wikipedia
Seeking to avoid a polar free-for-all in one of the planet's last untapped economic frontiers, representatives from more than three dozen nations will gather in Reykjavik, Iceland, starting Saturday to try to set some rules for tapping the natural resources and navigating new shipping lanes opening in the Arctic.
Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer is traveling the United States to promote the Keystone XL project as U.S. environmentalists threaten President Obama with civil unrest if he approves the proposed oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas.
China and other Asian nations have been moving aggressively to exploit the commercial potential of the Arctic as more of the region becomes accessible for development and shipping in the increasingly ice-free summer, while the U.S. appears to be dragging its feet, Icelandic President Olafur R. Grimsson told editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
The United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) now before the U.S. Senate for deliberation was met in 1982 with disapproval by President Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and later, Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense from 2001 to 2006.
In recent days, top U.S. Cabinet officers have traveled around the world on high-profile diplomatic missions. Ironically, in the process of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to the Arctic Circle and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's travels in Asia, they both undercut the case for the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty - one they had made jointly in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Mrs. Clinton took part in a meeting of the Arctic Council, whose eight members have territory in that region. Of these, just five - Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark's Greenland and the United States - have coasts on the Arctic Ocean and therefore are able to claim rights to offshore resources.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday ventured north of the Arctic Circle and urged international cooperation in a region that could become a new battleground for natural resources.
Old-school thinking sees America as a nation bounded by two great oceans. Yet the world has changed. The Arctic Ocean is no longer optional. In fact, it has become our nation's third great ocean border - and the opportunity of a lifetime.
Global mercury emissions could grow by 25 percent by 2020 if no action is taken to control them, posing a threat to polar bears, whales and seals and the Arctic communities who hunt those animals for food, an authoritative international study says.
The ice of Greenland and the rest of the Arctic is melting faster than expected and could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet this century, dramatically higher than earlier projections, an authoritative international assessment says.