Canada wants to claim the North Pole

by Rachel Baker on December 10, 2013

Apparently, there’s a cold war about to start about the Arctic’s resources, and who owns them. Canada has just made it clear they are vying for the North Pole as well.

The Great White North is looking to expand its horizons.

On Friday, the Canadian government was expected to submit an application to the UN Commission tasked with evaluating which countries can claim exclusive rights to resources — namely oil and gas — found in waterways far beyond their borders. Instead, however, the country made a surprising pivot: at the insistence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, they submitted a partial application rather than a full one. That’s because, according to The Globe and Mail, Harper wants government scientists to seek additional data that would support a more expansive claim — one that includes the North Pole.

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was finalized in 1982, countries can lay claim to ocean floor well beyond their borders — as long as they provide robust scientific evidence to prove that this seabed is an extension of their continental shelf. Already, countries have sovereign rights to resources within 200 nautical miles of their territorial waterways. For a country to determine whether they have economic sovereignty beyond that distance, the UN agreement requires comprehensive mapping that establishes some sort of geologic justification for the claim. And where the Arctic is concerned, Canada, the US, Norway, Russia, and Denmark have been amassing scientific evidence for more than a decade in an effort to increase their piece of this resource-rich pie. “This is about a long-term investment in potential resources,” says Martin Pratt, director of research at Durham University’s International Boundaries Research Unit. “If states don’t claim their territory, there’s a possibility that the global community will say, ‘No, sorry, you missed your chance.'”

Here’s the story:

and here’s a story about Russia planting a flag on the Arctic Seabed:

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