Front Burner

The fight to control the Arctic

Today on Front Burner, journalist Neil Shea on the fight between Canada, the U.S., Russia, Denmark and others to control the Arctic.
An iceberg floating in the Baffin Bay above the Arctic Circle. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)
Listen to the full episode20:50

Who owns the Arctic? There are several countries who think they have a right to the North Pole or the rich territory around it. Russia has a military presence close by, and recently fired two missiles from the Arctic Ocean as a show of strength. Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, has called the Arctic "the forefront of opportunity and abundance" for the United States. And Canada is among the countries that have submitted scientific evidence bolstering a claim of sovereignty over the North Pole. Neil Shea recently travelled to the Arctic for National Geographic, and spent time with a group of Canadian Rangers responsible for bolstering Ottawa's claim.

"There's a lot of oil and gas, and on the land, there's a lot of minerals," says Shea, who notes the Arctic land rush has been the result of climate change. "There's trillions of dollars of stuff that hasn't been accessible. But now that everything is melting, you have more opportunity to get at it."

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