We've covered for some time the not-so-slowly growing scramble for fossil fuels in the Arctic, only to increase as the region warms and eventually becomes ice-free at least in summer. In short, there are eight nations making claims in the region, attempting to define boundaries now that those boundaries increasingly have serious financial implications.
If you need a quick update on the situation, Huffington Post has a good overview of the current situation.
Here's a taste:
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped natural gas is in the Arctic. Shipping lanes could be regularly open across the Arctic by 2030 as rising temperatures continue to melt the sea ice, according to a National Research Council analysis commissioned by the U.S. Navy last year.
What countries should do about climate change remains a heated political debate. But that has not stopped north-looking militaries from moving ahead with strategies that assume current trends will continue.
Russia, Canada and the United States have the biggest stakes in the Arctic. With its military budget stretched thin by Iraq, Afghanistan and more pressing issues elsewhere, the United States has been something of a reluctant northern power, though its nuclear-powered submarine fleet, which can navigate for months underwater and below the ice cap, remains second to none.
Russia – one-third of which lies within the Arctic Circle – has been the most aggressive in establishing itself as the emerging region's superpower.
Read more here: Huffington Post. And in the related links to the left.