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Arctic Meltdown

The Economic and Security Implications of Global Warming

Courtesy Reuters

The Arctic Ocean is melting, and it is melting fast. This past summer, the area covered by sea ice shrank by more than one million square miles, reducing the Arctic icecap to only half the size it was 50 years ago. For the first time, the Northwest Passage -- a fabled sea route to Asia that European explorers sought in vain for centuries -- opened for shipping. Even if the international community manages to slow the pace of climate change immediately and dramatically, a certain amount of warming is irreversible. It is no longer a matter of if, but when, the Arctic Ocean will open to regular marine transportation and exploration of its lucrative natural-resource deposits.

Global warming has given birth to a new scramble for territory and resources among the five Arctic powers. Russia was the first to stake its claim in this great Arctic gold rush, in 2001. Moscow submitted

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