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Posted Thu Feb 26 2009: from Nature:
International Polar Year: In from the Cold
...It might seem that, as so often in the past, science reigns supreme at the planet's poles. But as climate change opens up vast parts of the Arctic to commerce, nations are starting to exert their influence in the region more purposefully, and long-simmering political tensions might soon boil over.... Warming in the Arctic, and the retreat of summertime sea ice, is opening up the region to interests such as mineral exploitation, shipping, fishing and tourism. Some researchers fear that the commercial potential could shift international interactions from mainly scientific collaboration to hard-nosed politics. Environmental groups such as Greenpeace have proposed a 50-year moratorium on all exploitation in the Arctic, but this is unlikely to gain much support. The shift towards economic and geopolitical competition poses a new threat for vulnerable Arctic environments, which should prompt scientists to speak out...
[Read more stories about: arctic meltdown, capitalist greed, global warming]

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