Policy Analysis

The Security Dimensions of Environmental Policy: Canadian defence policy changes along with climate in the suddenly accessible Far North

By Alec Crawford on July 11, 2008

IISD Project Officer Alec Crawford discusses how Canada's longstanding concern about Canada's Arctic sovereignty and security are increasingly shaped by climate change and the resulting reduction of sea ice. "The exploitation of the area's mineral deposits will become more cost-effective, and the region's vast oil and gas resources—which are believed to account for one-quarter of the world's undiscovered reserves—will ironically become more accessible due to climate change," writes Crawford. "A well-publicized scramble for these resources is already underway, with Canada, Russia, the United States, Denmark and Norway all staking competing claims." This commentary appeared in the Toronto Star on July 8, 2008.