Nations meet to hash out claims to Arctic seafloor
What with climate change melting record amounts of Arctic ice, the five nations that claim land rights in the Arctic region have been rushing to stake claim to the minerals and oil wealth beneath the Arctic Ocean. Starting Tuesday, Denmark is hosting talks among the five countries, aiming to bring a measure of civility to the Arctic’s predicted black-gold rush. One item that Denmark hopes the other countries will agree to would have the United Nations rule on any disputes over territory that may ensue as more and more of the Arctic Ocean becomes ice-free in the summer. The U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty already governs countries’ claims to mineral rights on the seafloor, but the United States has yet to ratify it. Final agreements on exploration rights in the Arctic Ocean aren’t expected for at least a decade or more, but Denmark has high hopes that some kind of ground rules for resolving disputes can be established much sooner.