IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 2nd Jan
“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.” —Anonymous
EDITORIAL HUNT #296 :“Six ways loss of Arctic ice impacts everyone | UPSC”
Six ways loss of Arctic ice impacts everyone | UPSC
When the Arctic warms, it will affect sea levels and precipitation patterns globally
It is in the Arctic that global warming presents its most dramatic face; the region is warming up twice as fast as the global average. The ice cap is shrinking fast — since 1980, the volume of Arctic sea ice has declined by as much as 75 per cent.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Geography : Global Warming
Unlike Antarctica, the Arctic is not a global common and there is no overarching treaty that governs it except UNCLOS . Discuss the impact of global warming on Arctic region -(GS 1)
- Melting Ice
- Changing routes around Arctic region
- Arctic vs Global Warming
- Way Forward
- MELTING ICE : But that was half a century ago. Today the mysteries of the Arctic are literally melting away.
- CHALLENGES AHEAD : The top of the world is falling into the sea in huge blocks, bringing with it challenges that are global in nature.
- EASY ROUTES : The Northern Sea Route (NSR) which would connect the North Atlantic to the North Pacific through a short polar arc was once the stuff of fantasy.
- ICE FREE ROUTES : Commercial cargo vessels has been going through every summer since the last decade. Models predict that this route could be ice free in summer by 2050, if not earlier.
- POPULAR THREAT : Habitat loss and degradation, the absence of year-long ice and higher temperatures are making the survival of Arctic marine life, plants and birds difficult.
- YET THERE IS A FLIP SIDE : The opening of the Arctic presents huge commercial and economic opportunities, particularly in shipping, energy, fisheries and mineral resources.
- OPPORTUNITIES IN ARCTIC : Oil and natural gas deposits, estimated to be 22 per cent of the world’s unexplored resources, mostly in the Arctic ocean, will be open to access along with mineral deposits including 25 per cent of the global reserves of rare earths, buried in Greenland.
IMPACT OF ARCTIC ON HUMAN BEINGS
- THE COMPLICATION : Unlike Antarctica, the Arctic is not a global common and there is no overarching treaty that governs it, only the UN Convention of Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- RESOURCE EXPLOITATION : Large parts of it are under the sovereignty of the five littoral states — Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark (Greenland) and the US — and exploitation of the new resources is well within their rights.
- INDIA IN ARCTIC COUNCIL : India has observer status in the Arctic Council, which is the predominant inter-governmental forum for cooperation on the environmental and development (though not the security) aspects of the Arctic.
- AMPLE PRESENCE : It is high time that our presence on the Arctic Council was underpinned by a strategic policy that encompassed economic, environmental, scientific and political aspects.