The New York Times reports that diplomats from the United States, Canada, Russia, Norway, and Denmark recently came to agreements about the possibility that global warming will make Arctic waters more accessible to shipping fleets and energy extractors.
After an all day meeting, the representatives decided that new legislation will not be needed, and the existing international laws regarding the Arctic will remain in effect. Along with organizing rescue protocols due to the increased number of tourists in the region, the five countries also agreed to minimize potential environmental damage from shipping and commerce.
While the compromise is hopeful, we shouldn't forget about the potential environmental damage the Arctic may bear as its resources become more readily available due to retreating sea ice. One expert has said that allowing shipping through the newly opened up Northern Passage could result in so much additional black carbon pollution in the Arctic that summer sea ice could disappear for good.
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