"A New Cold War Is Heating Up the Arctic"

"The North Pole is melting faster than ever, but the chill in the air at this year’s global gathering of Arctic experts had more to do with the widening repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   

The planetary consequences of that war have, by now, reached far beyond the disruption of climate efforts in Europe, where gas shortages have prompted governments to recommission coal plants. The conflict has also intensified a race among great powers for ascendancy in the Arctic, adding to pressure on a fragile system that’s critical to mitigating global warming.

Not since the Cold War has there been such focus on the frigid expanse that caps the Earth. More than half the Arctic coastline belongs to Russia, which is increasingly isolated from its northern neighbors. That’s turned the region into a growing security concern for the US, which has a foothold through Alaska.

As a result, this year’s Arctic Circle Assembly at times took on the air of a geopolitical summit rather than a gathering of climate and development experts. While Russia was noticeably absent from the event held last week in Reykjavik’s iconic glass-scaled Harpa Concert Hall, an unprecedented 2,000 attendees spilled into corridors and wedged themselves into doorways. Military uniforms popped out among the dark suits of politicians, executives and scientists.  And the conference drew a record number of US officials armed with the first update to America’s Arctic strategy in a decade."

Danielle Bochove reports for Bloomberg Green October 20, 2022.

Source: Bloomberg Green, 10/21/2022