World powers are racing to exploit the vast untapped resources of the Arctic as global heating opens up a new frontier
Donald Trump’s cack-handed attempt to buy Greenland, and the shirty response of Denmark’s prime minister, provoked amusement last week. But it was mostly nervous laughter. The US intervention shone a cold light on a rapidly developing yet neglected crisis at the top of the world – the pillage of the Arctic.
Like the late 19th-century “scramble for Africa”, when European empires expanded colonial control of the continent’s land mass from 10% to 90% in 40 years, the Arctic region is up for grabs. As was the case then, the race for advantage is nationalistic, dangerously unregulated, and harmful to indigenous peoples and the environment.
Russia announced an ambitious new programme to build Arctic ports, and expand an icebreaker fleet