As the Arctic ice continues to melt due to rising global temperatures, Russia is aggressively pursuing new trading routes as well as new stores of natural resources, including oil and gas. “The ice cap off Siberia now almost completely disappears in the summer months. Although there are still isolated floes, the Arctic Ocean is navigable. Coastal ice vanished for the first time in the summer of 2005, and it has been disappearing every summer since 2007.” And while much of the trading route runs along International Waters, Russian President Vladimir Putin is claiming the territory for Russia.
What’s the Big Idea?
A new business recently opened in Moscow seeks to control the Northern Sea route, which runs along Siberia into northern China, by managing infrastructure development and granting shipping permits—all for a hefty price, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars per ship. It remains unclear how Russian adventurism now will affect diplomatic efforts in the future, when all the ice covering the north pole has melted, which experts believe will be completely ice-free in the summer months by as early as 2030, while others say that this won’t happen until 2050 or 2080.