International

Get It While It's Hot, Arctic Forum Opens In Moscow Tomorrow

Polar bears

Polar bears on melting ice. istockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption istockphoto.com

Sorry, couldn't resist the headline.

Anyway, the International Arctic Forum opens tomorrow in Moscow. Billed as forum to focus on "policies to support the Arctic region's sustainable development." It might also be billed as a land grab. Russia, Canada and Denmark all say they're going to file claims that an undersea mountain range known as the Lomonsov region belongs to them.

As the Arctic icepack melts more and more of what was once inaccessible frozen sea, it is beginning to be possible to exploit oil and gas in the area. Russia submitted a claim in 2001 that was rejected because of lack of data, but now a senior Kremlin adviser says Russia will re-submit their claims.

At the moment everyone is making nice noises about resolving the competing claims without confrontation. But last week Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed concern about NATO's presence in the Arctic, and the U.S. Navy has also made noises about needing to have free access to the Arctic.

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