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Who should own the Arctic?

11:25 UK time, Thursday, 23 September 2010

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has rejected talk of an impending battle for control of the Arctic region's mineral resources. How should resources be shared?

It is thought that under the Arctic Ocean lies 25% of the world's resources of oil and gas. The scramble for resources has been set in motion partly by improved access caused by the melting of polar ice.

Russia, Norway, Canada, Denmark and the US have all laid claims to territory in the region. They have met in Moscow this week in an attempt to head off an international dispute.

Can the meeting prevent potential conflict over valuable resources? Are you attending the meeting? Are you based in the Arctic region?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Error: Too many requests have been made during a short time period so you have been blocked.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I believe that the Dutch (Barents, I think - hence the Barents sea. Could be wrong though) first explored the Arctic in any detail. That early investment of resources (and no doubt lives) should now be repaid.

    Therefore I think we should give it all to the Dutch - no carving up of territories. It makes it all much simpler that way, and we could do with less arguments about who owns somewhere that might have hydrocarbons (yes, Argentina, you know who I'm talking about).

    Lets face it; the Dutch are a harmless and well-meaning lot, and are less likely to go power-mad like any of the current major energy suppliers. I also think that the Dutch would look after the place.

  • Comment number 2.

    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

  • Comment number 3.

    "Who should own the Arctic?"

    nobody, ideally.

    there ought to be areas on Earth where humans do not go (and pollute) to act as sanctuaries for other life.

    any extraction of resources is bound to have have lasting, negative effect in this habitat.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Who should own the Arctic?"

    Let's be under no illusions that the mineral wealth of the arctic (and the antarctic for that matter) will not be exploited. Greenpeace can bleat as much as they like, - but it WILL happen.

    The trick is to have international agreements (with teeth to punish breaches) to control and police it.

  • Comment number 5.

    Polar Bears own the Arctic.

    Haven't we trashed enough of the planet already, without finding another vulnerable species to wipe out completely? Or will we have to build Polar Bear island sanctuaries?

  • Comment number 6.

    The Arctic should not belong to any one country however the problem is the mineral assets that are there. The world should agree to leave the assets until the major powers can agree a workable system where-by they can be shared but without destoying the eco system. Obviously this is not possible at the moment because we lack the technology so the best thing is to leave as is until we do.
    (The worry is that you mentioned oil and America in the same sentence ..!)

  • Comment number 7.

    No one should be mining there.
    Look at what happened over the summer in the gulf with the BP and other companies) oil leak.
    Its so much colder in the arctic that when a spill occurs it'll take decades rather than months for the oil to be degraded by marine microorganisms.
    Its one of the last great wildernesses and a reservoir for fish stocks, we shouldn't be gambling with polluting it.

  • Comment number 8.

    2: You say it's a stupid question. Penguins live in the southern hempishire. The arctic is in the northern one. Now who's stupid?

  • Comment number 9.

    In real terms the Arctic (unlike the Antarctic) is an area of open sea so quite frankly anyone can drill / extract resources from these international waters.

    The problem is that any corporation looking to undetake this exercise would need a relationship with Russia, the US, Canada, Norway or Greenland to be able to pipe the oil and gas ashore.

  • Comment number 10.

    The Inuit. Or whoever won't barge in there and plunder natural resources at the expense of the environment.

  • Comment number 11.

    I have always supported the idea of a zero-waste economy based on renewable energy.

    The tragedy of the Global Warming fiasco was that the Warmists actually created scepticism.

    They were selling the 'need' to reduce fossil fuel use as a way of dealing with a problem whose existence people questioned.

    If they had been more truthful, we could have focussed on the very real needs to 'go green'.

    Reducing population levels, and general pollution, and eliminating fuel and resource dependence, for example.

    If we put our minds to it, we can create an economy which simply does not require the resources the Russians want to get their hands on.

    I'd quite like to see the Russians bust a gut to get hold of resources they can't sell. Be quite funny watching the Iranians and others finding the west doesn't need their oil any more, too.

  • Comment number 12.

    Who should own the Arctic?

    Me.

    It would make a perfect base for my stockpile of nuclear weapons since the damn yankees discovered the hollow volcano.

    Let the global blackmail recommence.

  • Comment number 13.

    No one should 'own' it. Leave it be.

  • Comment number 14.

    How about nobody owns it? It is not land anyway, only open sea with ice on top.

    So a neutral body sells licences to extract minerals and the proceeds are shared amongst all countries throughout the world. Might just help towards the eradication of global poverty.

  • Comment number 15.

    The Arctic Ocean is just that, an ocean. The fact that it has a massive iceberg floating in the middle of it is irrelevant to its status.

    In other words these are international waters and the rules of international waters should apply as they do anywhere else.

  • Comment number 16.

    Mineral exploitation is going to happen anyway, - regardless of what the idealists want or say. It'll happen just as soon as someone - probably the Russians - gets impatient with the negotiations if they go on too long in their perception.

    And when it happens, what are the rest of us going to do? Go to war (with a nuclear power) over a few Polar Bears and Seals? I think not. Not this mother's son anyway.

    So the sooner we wake up and smell the coffee, and get down to some serious negotiations - the better!

  • Comment number 17.

    The Artic is essentially NOT the main problem, as it dies actually border a few countrys laying claim, which is ultimately PATHETIC and based just on greed of obtaining resources, money, wealth, power, the reasons for most wars.

    A BIGGER problem is the ANTARTICA, the SOUTH POLE, where even MORE countrys lay claim to land/potential resources, even though they have no borders with it and are thousands of miles away.

    I personally believe that the environmental concerns regarding global warming are in fact MANAGED, so that such places as the antartic and antartica can be utilised and basically pilaged.

    Global warming is NOT a new phenomena, it has been known for decades, my dad was part of British Antartica survey in early 1950s when measuring of all sorts including ice melt started. Ice melt was first measured to assess when supply ships could get through to re-supply bases and ex-change scientists/observers etc. On one occassion he and a few others got stuck because supply ship couldnt get through and they ended up eating their husky dogs and seals etc to survive.

    The question should be, WHO should OWN anything.

    The reality is that nations, businesses even religions lay claim to all upon this planet, and also all beyond this planet. First come, first served seems to be the basis/foundation of much of human behaviour.

    None of these nations in dispute over the Artic can afford a war, such a serious and damaging incident would annul the benefits gained, due to such severe costs of war damage.

    There will ONLTY be one outcome from this, and that is a MASSIVE environmental catastrophy.

    The Russians are claiming their nuclear powerstation on HUGE ships that they are building to power the extraction of resources via building floating citys are RISK FREE. What TOTAL RUBBISH.

    If you think the recent BP accident in Gulf of Mexico was bad, in comparison the potential environmental damage at the Antartic will make it look like a summers garden tea party and a bit of spilt milk.

    Human progress, is in fact that which enables the abuse of all upon this planet and even beyond. The Antartic, is just relatively an expansion of consequence of the attrocious virus which afflicts this planet, namely called humanity.

    The demands upon industry, energy, governments is ultimately and consequentially the FAULT of ordinary people, who demand a tempory lifestyle for their generation which is far far beyond sustainable and which will enevitably leave a DEAD or DIEING world for future generations to suffer.

    Hence, it is NOT the Russian government, or USA government or Canada government at fault, they only seek to obtain and control that which their nations peoples and other peoples around the world DEMAND is maintained.

    Imagine rationing of petrol, its a concept the majority ignorantly will not accept. The materialistc demands of an ever increasing world population are essentially what drives this issue. We in west, are ESSENTIALLY FULLY part of this problem, but MAINLY refuse to accept our part in it. Its easier to blame oil companys and greedy executives, but ultimately just as a thief NEEDS people to sell stolen goods onto, so do these oil companys etc.

    HENCE, receiving IS just AS vile AND attrocious AND immoral as the act(s) itself used to obtain such resources.

    If you want to blame anyone for much of the worlds environmental and ecological problems, just LOOK IN THE MIRROR, and you will FACTUALLY see one of those directly/indirectly responsible.

  • Comment number 18.

    2. At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

    Err.. thats the Antarctic. No penguins in the Arctic.

    This barely needs a HYS... International law says countries can exploit mineral resources 200 miles beyond the edge of their continental shelf. That divides up most of the Arctic. Where two countries claim that the same bit of territory is within 200 miles of both of their continental shelves you draw a line down the middle.

    That was easy. Next I'll fix the middle East: we should have used the map TE Lawrence drew up based on tribal lands and trade routes. They're be far less conflict and no country called 'Iraq' for starters.

  • Comment number 19.

    Well they better not generate too much hot air or the ice cap will melt.

  • Comment number 20.

    2. At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

    ========================================

    I doubt if United Biscuits manufacturing division, McVitie's have the military ability to stave off Russian/USA claims, hence the rules of the jungle exist, the strongest prevail.

  • Comment number 21.

    18. At 12:28pm on 23 Sep 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    2. At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

    Err.. thats the Antarctic. No penguins in the Arctic.

    This barely needs a HYS... International law says countries can exploit mineral resources 200 miles beyond the edge of their continental shelf. That divides up most of the Arctic. Where two countries claim that the same bit of territory is within 200 miles of both of their continental shelves you draw a line down the middle.

    -----

    But don't the interested nations keep finding 'evidence' that their continental shelves actually extend many hundreds of miles further than anyone previously thought?

    I thought that was pretty much the driving force behind Moscow's deep sea exploration antics in recent years - the quest to prove that the entire Arctic zone is actually part of mainlaind Russia?

  • Comment number 22.

    It should be held in trust by the UN.

    They can then sell mining rights for absolutely outrageous sums of money for fixed periods of time - we are talking trillions here - the money raised could be used for Unicef and UNHCR

  • Comment number 23.

    11. At 12:11pm on 23 Sep 2010, The Bloke wrote:
    Reducing population levels, and general pollution, and eliminating fuel and resource dependence, for example.

    If we put our minds to it, we can create an economy which simply does not require the resources the Russians want to get their hands on.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You obviously didn't read the HYS on driving.It's evident that the bulk of the population believe it's their self-appointed inalienable right to drive where they want, when they want, as fast as they want. And you'll need to prise the steering wheels from their cold dead hands. Sad but true.


  • Comment number 24.

    Everyone and no-one, certainly not the Russians they already have to much 'energy' related power over the world. If there is another world war it will be over energy.

    The ideal would be a global entity in which each country owns a share, and which challenges OPEC's (and speculators) domination and control of the oil market.

  • Comment number 25.

    Britain should own the Arctic. In fact, Britian should own everything.

  • Comment number 26.

    "Who owns the Arctic ?" - No one owns it. The question should have been
    "Who will exploit & benefit from its resources ?" - Whoever has the most guns & soldiers, no prizes for who I'm thinking of.

  • Comment number 27.

    "No one owns' the Arctic it belongs to the world, The minerals should be left in the ground, The eco system will be harmed, and the planet !!!! by greedy big business and the bankers all they care about is profits,if any mining or oil drilling ,is allowed no country has the right to take anything away from the Arctic, it belongs to the wild animals {The last place on earth}

  • Comment number 28.

    I find the notion of "Owning" portions of a planet stupid since it was here before humans and will be here long after we have figured out a method of eliminating our own species.

  • Comment number 29.

    Lets burn it all. Burn Burn Burn. When we are done burning it all, I'll get out my horse and cart and be able to charge a fortune for lifts.

  • Comment number 30.

    Own?

    Not such a silly question as it sounds because although most of it is international waters according to the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea, Canada, Russia and Denmark are currently vying for ownership of huge tracts of sea.

    The problem is that the Arctic is mostly pretty deep sea with a very few islands dotted around the edges. The islands are owned (claimed) mainly by Russia, Canada and Greenland (Denmark), but Iceland, Norway and USA have got some too.

    This isn't just about mineral wealth though. The fishing in the Arctic Ocean is under utilised due mainly to the difficulty of access due to the weather and ice. However, the ice is melting which may open up new fishing grounds.

    The melting ice has brought another benefit to international commerce. The celebrated North West Passage (the Northerly route from the Atlantic to the Pacific is now free enough of ice to make it's viability a serious consideration. With the alternatives being the Panama Canal or the three southern passages round the bottom of South America; this could really open up the far east - eastern US and European markets.

    So aside from the oil, this is some serious wealth potential. Wars have been fought for much less and I can't see the Inuit, the polar bears or the walrus getting a look in.

  • Comment number 31.

    Just give it sometime and you'll see a McDonald's there before the governments of the world arrive at a solution.

  • Comment number 32.

    It look like Russia will make the decision themselves.

  • Comment number 33.

    18. At 12:28pm on 23 Sep 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    2. At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

    Err.. thats the Antarctic. No penguins in the Arctic.

    All the more reason to give it to the penguins then, and repay them for many years of positive dicrimination toward polar bears, who incidentally seem patently unable to do anything constructive with their legacy, spending all their time lazing around on icebergs waiting for that photo opportunity.

  • Comment number 34.

    Who should own the Arctic? The animals that live there of course.

    The Arctic as an environmental resource is far more important than territorial or commercial considerations. Leave it as it is and hope that the melting that is happening there isn't the forerunner to catastrophic climatic change.

  • Comment number 35.

    I was always led to believe that both poles were "no go" areas for exploitation or exploration, in fact I think the UN made a declaration that no individual, group, organisation or nation could stake any claim whatsoever to any part of the poles. Research projects sanctioned by the UN were the only activity allowed. Who or why has that apparently changed?

  • Comment number 36.

    Don't the Americans own the Arctic? They seem to think they own every other part of the planet.

  • Comment number 37.

    There has to be recognition of the fact that geographic claims as to territorial rights and borders continue to be enforced by military power, inclusive of military alliances. Diplomatic negotiation is strictly secondary to that fact. This is complicated by the fact that treaties upheld at any particular time in history become the treaties broken in another phase of political development. Negotiation of borders and rights in the Arctic will entail implementing the means to patrol and police those agreements.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lloyd's List, which is the the main source for international shipping news, recently quoted Transport Canada's response: "The waters in question are within the exclusive jurisdiction of Canada and there is no legal obligation to seek approval from the IMO (International Maritime Organization)."
    Along with making registration with federal officials mandatory for any ship greater than 300 tonnes to travel through Canada's Arctic waters, the new rules are part of a broader assertion of Canada's authority over northern shipping. Canada has extended pollution-control limits and other regulations to 200 nautical miles offshore from 100 nautical miles.
    Canada’s claim to territorial sovereignty has been in place over a long period of time; indeed, studies mention that Canadian claims to sovereignty over Arctic islands have not been formally disputed by other states since the 1930s.
    One of the main Canadian textbooks on international law sums it up clearly: “There is no debate that the islands of the Arctic Archipelago are Canadian.” This position had been reconfirmed at the highest political level, with former US President Bush recognizing that Canada is sovereign over the Arctic islands.
    A senior Transport Canada official acknowledged at the time that the US gave a lukewarm response to the new regime, raising concerns that the stricter regulations could unnecessarily impede ship movements. Is that really what the US is worried about?
    The US has sort of a mixed view of Canadian rights…
    You can bet on that!
    It's mixed up with oil and natural resources.
    The marine passage is right through Canadian islands and internal waters. Those waters are all close to Canadian land. They are internal to Canada by geography and by historic use.

  • Comment number 39.

    Has nobody thought to consult Father Christmas?!

  • Comment number 40.

    I think the French should own it.

    At least that way the Arctic explorers would be able to get a croisant and a decent cup of coffee.

  • Comment number 41.

    "Who should own the Arctic ?"

    Me.

    Although I will need to put in some space heaters as it's freezing up there.

  • Comment number 42.

    The Arcticonians and Fred the Polar Bear of the Northern Bearantz sea. Peter Smythe-Penguin has also lodged a claim.

  • Comment number 43.

    I think Sir Ranulph Fiennes should own it!

  • Comment number 44.

    Nobody... and everybody.

    Make it a UN Protectorate and anyone wishing to prospect or exploit the natural resouces has to pay the UN a fat fee... get it right and the UN will have plenty of cash for its pet projects, which could well include environmental ones and the promotion of sustainable energy research.

  • Comment number 45.

    If the prediction of dwindling oil reserves in the traditional oil-fields is true there is no alternative but to recover reserves in new areas and there is nothing sacrosanct about the Arctic. We must maintain the supply of oil to enable us to live as we do, that includes commercial transport and personal mobility - cars. The US need to get their skates on as the Russian confederation are already building nuclear powered exploratory and accomodation facilities.

  • Comment number 46.

    25. At 12:51pm on 23 Sep 2010, Dr_Whites wrote:
    Britain should own the Arctic. In fact, Britian should own everything.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Yeh and then cry when they have to pay for it! jeez it was a christian country till someone asked them to put their hands in their pocket!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    No one, it's open water which happens to be currently frozen.

  • Comment number 48.

    22. At 12:46pm on 23 Sep 2010, Hastings wrote:
    "It should be held in trust by the UN."

    Yes, because the US has a great history of listening to the UN

  • Comment number 49.

    "18. At 12:28pm on 23 Sep 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    2. At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

    Err.. thats the Antarctic. No penguins in the Arctic."

    Peter's quite right but it's an easy mistake to make. My own 'memory trick' is to remember that Polar bears and penguins inhabit opposite poles, that no-one lives in the antarctic and so if you have a mental picture of a polar bear savaging a French Canadian (being the nearest you can get to a Frenchman in those parts) you'll always be able to remember which animal lives where.

  • Comment number 50.

    So, lets spend millions, if not billions, of dollars exploring, extracting and ruining the Arctic in the mindless pursuit of an unsustainable and polluting fuel rather than spending that money inventing and developing new, improved and secure renewable sources of energy which would benefit the whole of humanity, not just those involved in oil and government?! Yep we humans really are quite stupid. Well, those in oil and government are anyway!

  • Comment number 51.

    "29. At 1:00pm on 23 Sep 2010, bewareshadows wrote:
    Lets burn it all. Burn Burn Burn. When we are done burning it all, I'll get out my horse and cart and be able to charge a fortune for lifts."

    Unless we've burnt your cart.

  • Comment number 52.

    There is no land in the Arctic, only frozen sea. So the rules on control of the ocean floor elsewhere should apply.

  • Comment number 53.

    We should use our bit to send the yobs to!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    "This barely needs a HYS... International law says countries can exploit mineral resources 200 miles beyond the edge of their continental shelf."

    Woo-hoo! Does this give us in the UK the right to start drilling for oil in Belgium?

  • Comment number 55.

    Nobody,

    It will just lead to more fat cat worthless greedy scumbags ravaging the area for a fast buck.

    The potential ecological impact could be far more severe than anybody could expect.

    Additionally, how could any claim hold legitimency?, who would the land be "purchased" from?.

    If work started to remove resouces from there, by what authority would they be able to stop protesters from distrupting the operation?.

    Here in the west we go on about "Freedom", but If this gets "Sold" in any way it will show just how currupt this world is.

  • Comment number 56.

    The Polar Bears.

  • Comment number 57.

    "Its easier to blame oil companys and greedy executives, but ultimately just as a thief NEEDS people to sell stolen goods onto, so do these oil companys etc.

    HENCE, receiving IS just AS vile AND attrocious AND immoral as the act(s) itself used to obtain such resources.

    If you want to blame anyone for much of the worlds environmental and ecological problems, just LOOK IN THE MIRROR, and you will FACTUALLY see one of those directly/indirectly responsible."

    I've just looked in the mirror. It was at a bit of an angle so I caught sight of my neighbour. If he's repsonsible for what you say he is, oh boy, is he going to get it from me this afternoon.

  • Comment number 58.

    The International Agreements on the Artic and the Antartic where put in place at a time when countries thought there was limitlesss supplies of oil and raw materials elsewhere.
    Now we face a resource crunch, these areas protection will be removed.
    The future will bring conflict over access to resources, water, oil, coal, gas, metals.
    Anyone who thought the Falklands War was over sovereignty and seld-determination is not aware that Port Stanley is the nearest all year ice-free port to Antartica. Note the sabre-rattling from Argentina when oil was discovered under the sea near the Falklands, also note who the US backed in the dispute.
    Forget Al Q'Aida, its all about energy and metals.

  • Comment number 59.

    'Can the forum prevent potential conflict over valuable resources?'

    Not with that much money and control over energy at stake.

  • Comment number 60.

    "#2. At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins."

    Or a stupid answer, the penguins are in Antarctica.


    There will be a huge bun-fight because of the potential oil reserves, but lets face it the Icelanders/Norwegians/Russians/Canadians are the logical 'owners' but then again when did logic ever really matter? I sure the USA will be in the mix!!

  • Comment number 61.

    50. At 1:50pm on 23 Sep 2010, Andy wrote:
    So, lets spend millions, if not billions, of dollars exploring, extracting and ruining the Arctic in the mindless pursuit of an unsustainable and polluting fuel rather than spending that money inventing and developing new, improved and secure renewable sources of energy which would benefit the whole of humanity, not just those involved in oil and government?! Yep we humans really are quite stupid. Well, those in oil and government are anyway!

    That pretty much sums it up! The people involved with those decisions can only see $$$$ in their eyes. Both poles are precious world climate regulators. When their villas around the Mediterranean start disappearing? Those predators may find that money is not everything? Fat chance!!

    The karmic wheel grinds on .....

  • Comment number 62.

    The exploitation of the Earth’s resources and the pollution of its atmosphere have caused the polar ice caps to melt; and rather than take care of what’s left we see an unseemly rush to exploit what some see as an opportunity that facilitates further asset stripping. The spectacle of those that wish to take advantage of the meltdown to ravage yet more of this planet’s resources is sickening.

    These vultures are not like the ones in the wild who are part of the food chain; these are of a quite different order; they threaten the very food chain itself. Their intelligence gives them the capability to do it but it is their towering ignorance that allows them to do it.

  • Comment number 63.

    The world is far too mature a place now for any one country to claim so it probably needs to be under the control of an international body such as the UN.

    How the resources are used is then the question and my initial thoughts are that it cannot be done in any way that leads to undesirable behaviour e.g. if you make it on population size then you encourage population growth, if you make it on geographical area then you encourage military expansionism.

    And you have to factor into the equation who will actually extract these resources - Zimbabwe isn't going to play any part in it so they shouldn't be seeing any rewards and... that also raises the question over countries with poor governance (leaders who are only in it for themselves).

    It is a complex question, but it should not belong to anyone, the resources should belong to humanity as a whole.

  • Comment number 64.

    1. At 11:56am on 23 Sep 2010, bob bobwell wrote:
    I believe that the Dutch (Barents, I think - hence the Barents sea. Could be wrong though) first explored the Arctic in any detail. That early investment of resources (and no doubt lives) should now be repaid.

    Therefore I think we should give it all to the Dutch - no carving up of territories. It makes it all much simpler that way, and we could do with less arguments about who owns somewhere that might have hydrocarbons (yes, Argentina, you know who I'm talking about).

    Lets face it; the Dutch are a harmless and well-meaning lot, and are less likely to go power-mad like any of the current major energy suppliers. I also think that the Dutch would look after the place.


    ---------------------------

    Ever heard of a Dutch company called Shell?

  • Comment number 65.

    The International Artic Forum, I am afraid, may not achieve its aim. The two super powers, Russia and the United States, have already claimed that they should own the Arctic region.These two countries already have vast untapped minerals of their own.So the only logic behind their claim is might.Indiscriminate mining in the Artic may adversely affect the global climate change.Some nations' economic greed cannot be allowed to destroy the global ecological balance.
    If the minerals in the Artic must be exploited,the United Nations should arbitrate over the matter,and its ruling should be accepted by all the nations.The countries based in the Arctic shuld legitimately be given preference over the Arctic minerals.

  • Comment number 66.

    It amuses me to read that some contributors want the UN to "own" the Arctic so all countries would benefit from any resources developed. The UN would:
    1/ be incapable of developing anything.
    2/ money made from a UN venture would all be spent on running their offices and their expenses.
    3/ Like man made global warming all their statements would be riddled with untruths to back up their political desires.

    In reality the Russians, Canadians and USA will carve up the Arctic sea bed with Denmark [Greenland] and Norway picking up the crumbs left.

  • Comment number 67.

    I'm not sure but once Superman's lease runs out you would think he would get first choice on it?

  • Comment number 68.

    49. At 1:49pm on 23 Sep 2010, AndyC555 wrote:
    "18. At 12:28pm on 23 Sep 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    2. At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

    Err.. thats the Antarctic. No penguins in the Arctic."

    Peter's quite right but it's an easy mistake to make. My own 'memory trick' is to remember that Polar bears and penguins inhabit opposite poles, that no-one lives in the antarctic and so if you have a mental picture of a polar bear savaging a French Canadian (being the nearest you can get to a Frenchman in those parts) you'll always be able to remember which animal lives where.

    You try telling Peter Smythe-Penguin of No.19 Pole Lane...you just try.

  • Comment number 69.

    The first country that “plants” a flag!

    If ownership was never contested it belongs to no one but that’s not going to be accepted. We live in a world where everything has an authority/owner. Is the UN capable of being in charge and collect royalties from the businesses exploiting the minerals? After all it’s about the revenues from the minerals rather than sovereign rights.

  • Comment number 70.

    we should leave it well alone. we can't even pump oil out of the nice warm caribbean without serious mishaps, quite how being somewhere remote and inhospitable changes that I don't know.

  • Comment number 71.

    64. At 2:26pm on 23 Sep 2010, Fitz13 wrote:
    1. At 11:56am on 23 Sep 2010, bob bobwell wrote:

    "I think we should give it all to the Dutch. Lets face it; the Dutch are a harmless and well-meaning lot, and are less likely to go power-mad like any of the current major energy suppliers. I also think that the Dutch would look after the place."

    ---------------------------

    "Ever heard of a Dutch company called Shell?"


    No. What do they do? Probably a bunch of hippy do-gooders I expect, judging by their eco/organic/dolphin-friendly name.

  • Comment number 72.

    Whoever grabs the rights first and has the weaponry to back their legitimate claim. Are the Russians willing to arm wrestle with the US or the the little implacables from China in this matter ? Somebody will have to back down and I suspect it will not be the US of A.

  • Comment number 73.

    FATHER CHRISTMAS ESQ.!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    1. At 11:56am on 23 Sep 2010, bob bobwell wrote:
    .................Therefore I think we should give it all to the Dutch -..... Lets face it; the Dutch are a harmless and well-meaning lot, and are less likely to go power-mad like any of the current major energy suppliers. I also think that the Dutch would look after the place.
    ----------------

    Heh. Paging Indonesia. Indonesia please pick up the courtesy phone. Thank you.

  • Comment number 75.

    If we are lucky Russia, China and the US will collaborate peacefully on any development of oil and gas resources in the Arctic. Granted the Russians have already planted a flag, built massive ice breaking vessels and floating nuclear reactors. I do not think the gas guzzling yanks will approve of Russia becoming the next generation oil barons of the planet.

  • Comment number 76.

    Who owns it?
    The nation who is willing to supply the most boats and ships to protect their interest in that area of the planet.

  • Comment number 77.

    Yes, Polar Bears! Humans are like a disease, and cancer on the planet, infecting everywhere we can get our grubby hands – on what for MONEY!

  • Comment number 78.

    Whoever gets there first and can safely and cost effectivley drill and begin extracting the natural resource which are there.
    As to Russia and their little publicity stunt of sending down a manned submersable to plant a little Russian flag down on the bottom of the Arctic Sea thus claiming Mineral rights there for all eternity , that has about as much significance as America claiming rights to the moon based on the flags (plural) we in America have placed there.

  • Comment number 79.

    8. At 12:07pm on 23 Sep 2010, paul tapner wrote:
    2: You say it's a stupid question. Penguins live in the southern hempishire. The arctic is in the northern one. Now who's stupid?


    No naturally occuring penguins in the Arctic. There was a colony of penguins established in the 1960s to a place called Wrangel Island (USSR owned). They're still there and thriving.

  • Comment number 80.

    The Artic is just sea(albeit frozen). Therefore international law decrees that only 12 miles from a country's shore can be claimed as that country's territory. The proposed carve up is in violation of UN law and is just down to greed. Leave it alone.

  • Comment number 81.

    "I thought that was pretty much the driving force behind Moscow's deep sea exploration antics in recent years - the quest to prove that the entire Arctic zone is actually part of mainlaind Russia?"


    If Mr. Putin could, he would claim that Russian continental shelf streches all the way through Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

    The old fashioned way.


  • Comment number 82.

    Aren't there some monkeys staking a claim?

  • Comment number 83.

    No one really owns land (or sea). You only have to look at how easily it is legally confiscated when someone with a little more power wants to do something like build a road, or even a supermarket. The idea that any one of us, who only exist for a few decades, can posess some part of the landscape in any meaningful way is absurd. And yet so many of us get lured into a lifetime of debt to "own" a tiny piece of something which can never be ours. The Arctic is just the same.

    Perhaps if some of us are willing to kill each other over what is there, they should do it now, and once they are all safely buried the rest of us can get on with our lives - in a slightly less crowded world where we don't need to devastate vast areas of our world.

  • Comment number 84.

    "Somebody will have to back down and I suspect it will not be the US of A."





    There have been some SLBM-armed US Navy "boomers" hanging under the North Pole for decades waiting for just such an occasion. :)

  • Comment number 85.

    8. At 12:07pm on 23 Sep 2010, paul tapner wrote:
    "2: You say it's a stupid question. Penguins live in the southern hempishire. The arctic is in the northern one. Now who's stupid?"

    Er, you are. Penguins live in the Galapagos which straddle the equator, therefore they also live in the northern hemisphere.

  • Comment number 86.

    "Ever heard of a Dutch company called Shell?"


    No. What do they do? Probably a bunch of hippy do-gooders I expect, judging by their eco/organic/dolphin-friendly name."






    Yep, almost as friendly to environment as BP. :-))))))))))))))))))))))))

  • Comment number 87.

    "Granted the Russians have already planted a flag, built massive ice breaking vessels and floating nuclear reactors."


    Since Chernobyl, a prospect of drifting Russian nuclear reactors is not a very enticing one.

    For example to Canadians.

  • Comment number 88.

    "As to Russia and their little publicity stunt of sending down a manned submersable to plant a little Russian flag down on the bottom of the Arctic Sea thus claiming Mineral rights there for all eternity , that has about as much significance as America claiming rights to the moon based on the flags (plural) we in America have placed there."


    With one small difference: nobody else has managed to get to the Moon in the last 40 years (since Apollo-11 days)

  • Comment number 89.

    Do the Inuit Nations have a say in this? Or are they not being considered at all? Weren't they there before any European or American?

  • Comment number 90.

    2. At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:

    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.


    What a stupid answer. Penguins live in the Antarctic.

  • Comment number 91.

    77. At 3:19pm on 23 Sep 2010, AM wrote:
    Yes, Polar Bears! Humans are like a disease, and cancer on the planet, infecting everywhere we can get our grubby hands – on what for MONEY!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ........errrrrrr!

    You speak for yourself there dude, do not include me in your distasteful analogy of the human race.


  • Comment number 92.

    85. At 3:38pm on 23 Sep 2010, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:
    8. At 12:07pm on 23 Sep 2010, paul tapner wrote:
    "2: You say it's a stupid question. Penguins live in the southern hempishire. The arctic is in the northern one. Now who's stupid?"

    Er, you are. Penguins live in the Galapagos which straddle the equator, therefore they also live in the northern hemisphere.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I suspect they are the same penguins from the movie Madagascar. Those little critters get everywhere...

  • Comment number 93.

    The Polar bears, the Penguins, the Seals, the Birds even the fish, but never the human beings, they'll just louse it up like everywhere else, yu no wot am sayin?

  • Comment number 94.

    At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________
    Only if there has been a massive movement of the continental plates.

  • Comment number 95.

    82. At 3:34pm on 23 Sep 2010, FrankandTomsDad wrote:
    Aren't there some monkeys staking a claim?
    ........................................................................
    Yes, the Americans.

  • Comment number 96.

    At 1:32pm on 23 Sep 2010, BB wrote:
    Has nobody thought to consult Father Christmas?!

    ______________________________________________________________________________________
    Who currently resides in Finland, where he has always been, and is a little too busy at the moment to take on any more responsibilities. Maybe after Christmas.

  • Comment number 97.

    At 11:59am on 23 Sep 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:

    What a stupid question. The Arctic belongs to penguins.

    What a stupid answer. Penguins live in the Antarctic.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Actually, there is a large penguin colony in South Africa, which is not (yet) part of the Antarctic. Close, but no cylindrical smoky thing.

  • Comment number 98.

    My vote goes to polar bears. But on a less serious note - it may be a worthwhile bit of scientific research to find out what would happen if the mineral wealth of that part of the earth is exploited given our concerns about the implications of a melting ice cap and all that....

  • Comment number 99.

    Oh, do we sour grapes because our influence doesn't extend that far north? It appears so, because that is why we were so antsy about the Flakland Islands. UK has "control" of several islands down south that has allowed us to lay claim to areas of the Antarctic that we might be able to exploit. So Russia, America and Canada (to name a few) want to exploit this side of the Earth? Well, they're no better than us, but no worse.

    As another poster said, they are entitled to 200 miles off their "coast", with a line drawn down the middle of disputed territorial claims. Moving to Canada or Russia might be a good idea in the next few years, as they become richer and we become poorer and have to pay more money for oil and gas.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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