As Ice Melts, New Laws Needed in in the North

This week international legal experts are meeting in Iceland to debate whether or not the world needs new international laws concerning the polar regions in the face of climate change.
September 11, 2008, 8am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"A new set of United Nations laws may be needed to regulate new Arctic industries such as shipping and oil exploration as climate change melts the ice around the North Pole, legal experts said on Sunday.

They said existing laws governing everything from fish stocks to bio-prospecting by pharmaceutical companies were inadequate for the polar regions, especially the Arctic, where the area of summer sea ice is now close to a 2007 record low.

Dozens of legal experts are meeting in Iceland from September 7-9 to debate the legal needs of the polar regions. Other threats include a surge in tourism, with 40,000 visitors to Antarctica in 2007 against just 1,000 in 1987.

[T]he eight nations with Arctic territories - the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland - have so far preferred to limit discussion to existing international laws."

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Published on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 in Truthout
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