September 20th, 2019

Cold War in the Arctic: the latest hotspot in global geopolitics thanks to climate change

A new battle –  economic and political for the moment – is emerging on one of the most  hostile geographical stages on the planet, the Arctic.  The main players  are the three superpowers, the United States, Russia and China, but the  increasing rivalry for access to and control over the vast resources in  the region and its use as a prime trading route holds major  implications for a large part of the world, especially the European  Union, with member states in the Arctic region and a clear interest in  the area’s development. West African and certain Latin American  countries will also be impacted by the new shipping route.

In Brussels, concern over the Arctic has already placed its strategic  significance on a level with other regions, such as the Middle East. In  addition to the economic factors, the focus of this concern, as underlined by the Finnish presidency  of the Council of the EU during the second half of 2019, is the  potential implications of global climate change for European security  strategies. Temperature rises are shrinking the polar ice cap and  opening up the navigable waters within the Arctic Polar Circle and off  the coasts of Canada, the United States, Russia and north-west Europe,  including Greenland.

Collapse )