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Arctic Argument Brewing

by asdf Tue Aug 23rd, 2005 at 09:47:03 AM EST

A spat between Canada and Denmark is developing over an uninhabited rock called Hans Island in the eastern Arctic region. A visit there by Canada's defence minister last month angered the Danes. Canada believes it has territorial sovereignty over parts of the Arctic where borders haven't been negotiated in the past.

The US has already said it regards the passage near the island as an international strait, not Canadian waters. Russia, Norway and Denmark also have competing claims in the artic.

Why is this suddenly so important?

Oil, man, oil!

We're into the end game, where rising crude oil prices make scarce petroleum in remote areas economically worthwhile. Because of global warming, areas in the arctic that were previously isolated are becoming open sea that makes shipborne exploration practical.

This development exposes shortcomings in international treaties extending back over a century, treaties in which borders in the arctic weren't clearly defined. Expect more excitement in this area--and in the Antarctic--as the price of oil continues its gradual, inexorable rise.


Believe it, or not!
This story was already covered at ET.
by ask on Tue Aug 23rd, 2005 at 10:55:43 AM EST
The Russo-Norwegian dispute would be the "Gråsonen" conflict. Some 67.500 km2 of which 41.500 km2 is disputed. Fishing is regulated through the Greyzone-treaty signed in 1970, a "temporary" treaty which is renewed each year.

There's alot of oil in the area, so don't expect a resolution anytime soon.

Dub mentality

by Coug (me(AT]tommyb{DOT]info) on Tue Aug 23rd, 2005 at 05:07:02 PM EST
Hello Coug - haven't seen you around for a while. Welcome back!

The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 08:17:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet has an article today, ending with this paragraph:
Eksperter tror ikke at det finnes mye olje eller andre naturressurser i området. Kanadiske geologer som har vært på Hans Øy, forteller at den ligger på en fjellkjede som starter på norske Svalbard og som slutter på kanadiske Ellesmereøya. En av dem, Keith Dewing, har foreslått at den nye grensa trekkes på midten av Hans Øy. Da ville Hans Øy være det eneste stedet i Nord-Amerika hvor et menneske kunne stå med det ene beinet i Canada og det andre i Europa, slo han fast.
(translation by ask)
"Experts do not believe that there is much oil or other natural resources in the area.  Canadian geologists that have been to Hans Island tell us that it is situated on a mountain range that starts at Norwegian Svalbard (Spitzbergen) and ending on the Canadian Ellesmere Island.  One of them, Keith Dewing, has suggested that the new border is drawn through the middle of Hans Island.  If so is done, Hans Island would be the only place in North America where a person could stand with one leg in Canada and the other in Europe he stated."
by ask on Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 11:39:57 AM EST
Oh great, another divided island!

I thought there were a couple of French fishing villages in Newfoundland that are officially part of France, and that you could stand there with one leg on (symbolically) each continent...

by asdf on Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 11:51:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First time I hear it! Any link?

You can find examples of pretty strange borders at this site dedicated to Exclaves and enclaves. The strangest of them all is the multi-exclave/enclave mess between Belgium and the Netherlands, Baarle. The link is in Dutch, but below is a map of a part of it:

The surroundings are Dutch, the blue parts marked with a H and a number belgian, and the green parts marked with an N and a number within that are Dutch again. (And I'm told it's actually even worse: one of the Dutch enclave-in-exclaves pictured here is supposed to contain an even smaller Belgian exclave!)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 03:42:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SAINT-PIERRE and MIQUELON are islands, not on the mainland...but still officially part of France.


by asdf on Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 10:18:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering mapping oddities, the State of Colorado is a rectangle bordered by lines at longitude 102 and 109 degrees west, and latitude 37 and 41 north.

This is only approximate as there are the usual small surveying errors--plus a fairly big one of over a mile on the western border, just visible on some larger scale maps...

by asdf on Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 10:32:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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