We Need New Rules Limiting a Little in the Arctic, To Save a Lot: WWF
Considering that by all accounts the Arctic is decidedly getting warmer and trending towards at least ice-free summers, the world needs some new rules to govern the area. That's what WWF says. "A new, warmer Arctic cannot continue to operate under rules that assume it is ice-covered and essentially closed to fishing, resource exploration and development, and shipping." WWF covers the situation and its recommendations in a couple PDFs (linked at bottom), but this is the gist of it:
1) Even though a quarter of the fish eaten in Europe come from the Arctic, there are no rules governing fishing in newly accessible areas. 2) Oil and natural gas exploration is only going to increase in the region, without rules governing clean-up and infrastructure for dealing with spills--particularly poignant considering the events in the Gulf of Mexico. 3) Impact on marine animals from increased shipping and resource exploration is also a blank area.WWF recommends the best option to address these issues is,
...to develop a new international framework agreement covering the entire Arctic, across all sectors. Such a legally binding agreement for the marine Arctic would address the identified governance gaps. ... The new Arctic Sea emerging from the melting ice requires a regional regime tailor-made for arctic conditions developed under the overarching framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Read more: Reforming Arctic Governance: Limit a Little, Save A Lot & International Governance and Regulation of the Marine Arctic
photo: US Geological Survey via flickr.
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More on the Arctic:
NASA Satellite Data Reveals Arctic Melting Season Now Nearly a Month Longer
New Arctic Map Shows Just What Boundaries We'll Be Fighting Over For Oil
Global Warming Has Opened the World's Next Suez Canal