I’ve blogged before about the brewing conflict over the north pole.
Now I’ve written an article for The Toronto Star about the possibility of a similar situation panning out in the Antarctic. Like the Arctic, it technically belongs to no one, it also holds oil, minerals and gas, and there are likely to be diplomatic scuffles over territorial boundaries in the region as nations try to secure their future chances of exploiting those resources. And, like the Arctic, the region is warming – making exploitation of those resources even more likely.
Certainly none of the experts I spoke with seemed to think that there would be any conflict or mineral exploration on the last continent anytime soon. But you know, I can’t help but feel like it’s only a matter of time. Either way, my feelings are the same as Professor Thomas Homer Dixon, to whom I gave the last word in my piece:
“The Arctic Ocean opens up because of our profligate use of fossil fuels, and what’s the first thing we think about? Going up there and looking for more fossil fuels … The media hype over resource exploration, new ice-free passages, increased shipping traffic – I think those issues are wholly exaggerated and overblown. They will happen. And there will be nasty little disputes. But believe me, when we lose the ice at the poles, we’re going to be worried about other things.”