The Arctic has long been a place where only the most intrepid ventured. That is changing, slowly. Because global warming affects high latitudes more than low ones, melting sea ice (and improved technology) will increase access to the Arctic, both for transportation and for the exploitation of natural resources, which many experts believe are abundant in the region. Sea-travel distance from western Europe to Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and northeast China could be cut nearly in half if ships traveled through the Arctic Ocean north of Russia instead of via the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean. In 2009, two German cargo ships traveled the Arctic route without relying on icebreaking escort vessels, which Russian ships normally use. This collection surveys the evolving possibilities of increased Arctic access and its implications for the ﬁve Arctic states: Canada, Denmark (which borders the Arctic by way of Greenland), Norway, Russia, and the United States. It is a useful introduction to a remote part of the world that will undoubtedly become more important in the coming years.
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