Diplomacy on Ice

Diplomacy on Ice: Energy and the Environment in the Arctic and Antarctic

Rebecca Pincus
Saleem H. Ali
Foreword by James Gustave Speth
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Diplomacy on Ice
    Book Description:

    As the race for resources in distant parts of the planet gathers momentum, most discussion has centered on the potential for conflict, environmental destruction, and upheaval from climate change. This important book shifts the conversation about the Arctic and Antarctic from conflict to cooperation. A multidisciplinary roster of experts provides fresh views of the polar regions, focusing on diplomacy and the potential for cooperative international decision-making. Collectively the contributors illustrate the breadth of issues that complicate governance in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as parallels and differences between the politics of the two poles.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-21038-5
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    James Gustave Speth

    The polar regions of the planet remain underappreciated in discussions of global development. Often they draw attention when major ecological crises emerge such as ozone depletion in the Antarctic or the melting of the Greenland ice sheet in the Arctic. It is high time that the international community consider these regions more deliberately as part of diplomatic engagement. Rebecca Pincus and Saleem Ali’s work in developing this admirable volume is a pioneering effort to provide rigorous scholarly research that is still accessible to policymakers in this arena.

    During my time as the administrator of the United Nations Development Program in...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction: A Cold Prelude to a Warming World
    (pp. 1-10)

    It is now indisputable that the polar regions of the earth are thawing rapidly. Arctic temperatures have risen more than twice as fast as the global average over the past half-century. If the speed of change continues, a largely ice-free Arctic in the summer months is likely by 2040—up to forty years earlier than was anticipated in the most recent assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The last time the Arctic was unquestionably free of summertime ice was 125,000 years ago, at the height of the last major interglacial period, known as the Eemian.¹ On...

  6. Part 1 The Law:: Legal Structures in Polar Regions
    • [PART ONE Introduction]
      (pp. 11-12)

      Although much about the future of the polar regions is called into question by the pace and projected scale of change, no discussion is complete without a consideration of the governance structures already in place. Many international legal structures apply at the poles, and these will shape the future course of human activity in the region. The following chapters tackle some of the important governance structures that apply at the poles, and offer both critiques and recommendations for future adaptations.

      Given the shared nature of both poles—the Antarctic as a region of peaceful international cooperation and scientific discovery, and...

    • 1. Polar Environmental Governance and Nonstate Actors
      (pp. 13-40)

      The role and nature of sovereign states have been profoundly affected over the past two decades by many external and internal pressures related, among other factors, to the end of the Cold War, the emergence of transnational corporations with global economic impact, the development of new technologies, and the multiplication of unconventional security threats. These developments have supported the emergence of a discourse addressing this shift from government to governance, the latter notion being more encompassing. This trend is exemplified by the comparison of the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences dedicated to sustainable development. While the 1992 Rio...

    • 2. Interlinkages in International Law: The Convention on Biological Diversity as a Model for Linking Territory, Environment, and Indigenous Rights in the Marine Arctic
      (pp. 41-60)

      Treaties relevant to the Arctic abound. Some resolve territorial boundaries; they are largely bilateral. Some address environmental problems; these are overwhelmingly multilateral and not specific to the Arctic. Some address the rights of indigenous peoples; these are almost exclusively internal to the individual Arctic states and their indigenous populations, but global human rights norms are increasingly relevant to these concerns.¹ The problem is that the proliferation of multilateral agreements has generally made it more, not less, difficult for states to coordinate and effectively enforce the numerous obligations to assess, report, and exchange information in ways that solve the individual problems...

    • 3. An Erosion of Confidence? The Antarctic Treaty System in the Twenty-first Century
      (pp. 61-71)

      Over the last sixty years, Antarctica moved from the periphery of global political awareness and from being a frontier for exploration, adventure, and notions of political sovereignty at “the bottom of the world” to one of the focal points of international discussion, especially in the context of climate change, as a place where sovereignty matters were set aside and where peace and science were moved to the fore. At the same time, the notion of suspended sovereignty, which has been described as an ingenious agreement to disagree, has been contested as rooted in an intrinsically colonial system of the past...

    • 4. Invasive Species in the Arctic: Concerns, Regulations, and Governance
      (pp. 72-93)

      In most literature, numerous terminologies are utilized in referring to invasive species. Such terminologies are used interchangeably and include nonindigenous species, alien species, immigrated species, or nonnative species, among others. Invasive species are species that include plants, animals, and microorganisms that did not originally develop in a particular region, but are introduced either accidently or deliberately. Their introduction may take place via the importing, for limited purposes, of species which then escape.¹ In most cases, the so-called four T’s—trade, transport, travel, and tourism—are responsible for the introduction of invasive alien species.² Increased Internet sales of horticultural plants, insects,...

    • 5. Managing Polar Policy through Public and Private Regulatory Standards: The Case of Tourism in the Antarctic
      (pp. 94-110)

      Antarctica is situated in a resource-rich yet remote area that increasingly attracts visitors, from scientists to tourists. This chapter frames Antarctica within a case study approach that examines the role of polar diplomacy in the management of tourist travel to the continent. It also seeks to broaden the scholarly and applied understanding of how visits to Antarctica are managed by a global community of actors who share an interest in that continent’s physical environment. Such policy management requires the integration of governmental outputs in the form of subnational management activities, multilateral cooperation under the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) umbrella, and...

  7. Part 2 Critical Actors:: Power Dynamics and Driving Forces in Polar Regions
    • [PART TWO Introduction]
      (pp. 111-112)

      In this section we turn to the major vectors of change in the polar regions, and the driving forces that will shape the poles in the future. Of course, much attention is paid to the rich energy resources of the Arctic, which loom large in the world’s estimation. The geopolitical desirability of the Arctic is in large part tied to its resources and strategic location, and therefore the globe’s major powers are redefining their Arctic policy to reflect strategic values. There is more to the story than oil and gas reserves, however, as many of our authors point out.


    • 6. From Energy to Knowledge? Building Domestic Knowledge-Based Sectors around Hydro Energy in Iceland and Greenland
      (pp. 113-127)

      Iceland and Greenland share significant social, economic, and political history and conditions. These shared circumstances make it possible to draw comparisons and learn possible lessons on the future course of Greenland’s development based on the Icelandic experience.

      Iceland and Greenland share a political history as overseas territories of the Kingdom of Denmark. Iceland became an overseas possession of the Kingdom of Denmark in the Middle Ages. It gained home rule (executive control of domestic issues) in 1904 and sovereignty in a union with Denmark in 1918, and became a republic in 1944. Greenland was a colony of Denmark until 1953,...

    • 7. Arctic Melting Tests the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
      (pp. 128-140)

      In a 2011 assessment, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) reported that 2005–2010 was the warmest period ever recorded in the Arctic. Further, the report, titled “Snow, water, ice and permafrost in the Arctic,” found that there is evidence that two components of the Arctic cryosphere—snow and sea ice—are interacting with the climate system to accelerate warming. The assessment found that the extent and duration of snow cover and sea ice have decreased across the Arctic. Temperatures in the permafrost have risen by up to 2 degrees Celsius. The southern limit of permafrost has...

    • 8. Growth Imperative: Intermediaries, Discourse Frameworks, and the Arctic
      (pp. 141-150)

      The speed with which the future approaches the Arctic can be felt today in discussions on climate change, resource extraction, and sea transportation. Borrowing a phrase from Mabel Toolie, a Native elder of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, the Arctic is a place “where the Earth is faster now” (Krupnik and Jolly, 2002: 7). But expert discussions taking place many miles from the North are also determining the speed with which the future is drawn into the Arctic present. The goal of these discussions is not directed toward the discursive shaping of the Arctic but toward exploiting the Arctic as a...

    • 9. Connecting China through “Creative Diplomacy”: Greenland, Australia, and Climate Cooperation in Polar Regions
      (pp. 151-160)

      Science was the unifying force behind the Antarctic Treaty, and many countries that were original signatories and collaborators on the southern pole have also had strategic interests in the northern pole. A clear shift occurred regarding the salience of polar regions beyond science and local community interests with the consequences of climate change, the melting of ice, and the growing demand for natural resources. Growing interest in Arctic natural resources may be considered by Antarctic countries as a potential difficulty when renegotiating the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, also known as the Madrid Protocol, at a time...

    • 10. Security in the Arctic: A Receding Wall
      (pp. 161-168)

      In 1938, well before the effects of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere began to be noticed by humanity (most of whom were anxiously watching the European continent), Nicholas Spykman wrote that geography is “the most fundamentally conditioning factor in the formulation of national policy because it is the most permanent.” He added: “George Washington defending thirteen states with a ragged army has been succeeded by Franklin Roosevelt with the resources of a continent at his command, but the Atlantic continues reassuringly to separate Europe from the United States and the ports of the Saint Lawrence are...

  8. Part 3 Community:: Human Rights, Indigenous Politics, and Collective Learning
    • [PART THREE Introduction]
      (pp. 169-170)

      With any emergent human activity, there is a need for community development to take root and gain ownership among the inhabitants of a region. Remote Arctic communities have a particular need to engage with global human rights discourse, not only because of the vulnerability of the communities but also because of what nascent Arctic governance processes can learn from the paradigm. This section of our volume begins with an exploration of how such an interface might occur. Would it be appropriate to consider the impact of climate change on such communities as a human rights issue? What might the application...

    • 11. Using Human Rights to Improve Arctic Governance
      (pp. 171-185)

      Each day brings new evidence that human activity is dramatically and irreversibly altering planet Earth, potentially unraveling the life support systems on which we and all other living creatures rely. Nowhere is that evidence more vivid than in the Arctic—where sea ice is retreating, and where in 2011 a record-breaking ozone hole was reported over Arctic skies.¹ Headlines about the Arctic with alarming phrases like “After the Ice” have become common fare.² As the ice melts, the once-remote Arctic becomes increasingly accessible to shipping, oil and gas extraction, fishing, and tourism. That accessibility, in turn, sparks further changes—potentially...

    • 12. Cooperative Food Sharing in Sheshatshiu: Uncovering Scenarios to Support the Emergent Capacity of Northern Communities
      (pp. 186-197)

      Circumpolar regions, including the Canadian Arctic, are facing accelerated warming due to climate change (Barber et al., 2008). Stroeve et al. (2007) report that from 1953 to 2006 there has been a steady decline in observable Arctic sea ice extent at the end of the summer melt season. Such evidence indicates that an ice-free summer is possible within this century (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2007). Young (2009) describes how large-scale ecological changes in the circumpolar north are paralleled by other more political “thaws” and “freezes.” The end of the Cold War brought cooperative efforts (thaws) in polar diplomacy...

    • 13. Crossing the Land of Indigenous People in the Arctic: Comparison of Russian and North American Experiences of Economic Growth and Human Rights in Energy and Infrastructure Projects
      (pp. 198-212)

      Extractive projects and associated infrastructure are increasingly entering remote areas in the Arctic to access and transport natural resources, affecting the territories and activities of outlying communities, often of indigenous peoples, as rising prices of minerals and hydrocarbons cause companies to seek to exploit reserves in challenging locations.¹ These developments have a major impact on the environments on which indigenous peoples depend for their livelihoods. For example, studies of the breeding success of caribou, reindeer, elk, moose, wolves, and bear have shown declines with road density (United Nations Environment Program [UNEP], 2001). How indigenous communities interact with such projects is...

    • 14. Emergent Cooperation, or, Checkmate by Overwhelming Collaboration: Linear Feet of Reports, Endless Meetings
      (pp. 213-223)

      Too much to read, too much to hear, just too much to allow a normal life. That’s a reasonable reaction of someone living in the American Arctic who is tasked with or feels responsible for knowing and responding to the largely political elements from outside that impact every aspect of life on Alaska’s North Slope. More than a decade ago the residents of the small village of Nuiqsut, adjacent to the Prudhoe Bay oilfields, considered hiring an outsider to move to Nuiqsut and attend meetings on their behalf. They wanted time to go about their own lives.

      Inupiat people on...

    • 15. From Northern Studies to Circumpolar Studies: In the Field and in the Ether
      (pp. 224-234)

      From the moment of their arrival in the postglacial North at the end of the Pleistocene epoch twelve thousand years ago, humans have used ingenious adaptations to the challenges of a frigid environment. However, it was not until the twentieth century that the North became a subject of study in its own right, and not until the twenty-first century that the entire circumpolar world has been considered as a singular region, critical in world development. From the earliest days, when humans traveled light across the snow and ice carrying the knowledge to survive in their minds, to this postmodern era...

  9. Epilogue
    (pp. 235-238)

    The earth’s two poles have always been seen by outsiders as fascinating, otherworldly zones of adventure, exploration, and exploitation. Outsiders first penetrated Arctic and Antarctic waters in search of resources to remove, specifically fish, whales, and the hides and tusks of smaller marine mammals. Earlier eras of polar exploration proved enormously popular with publics across the globe.

    We appear to now be entering another era of polar fascination. Evidence of this can be seen in the recent explosion of media coverage linked to climate change. A simple Google search for “Arctic warming” reveals a sharp spike in mentions from 2010...

  10. Selected Resources
    (pp. 239-268)
  11. List of Contributors
    (pp. 269-274)
  12. Index
    (pp. 275-289)