Eight countries circle the North Pole, among them: Russia, the U.S., Canada and Norway. The Arctic is strategically important for its oil production, shipping lanes, and military access, but climate change and indigenous rights issues add complexity to what would otherwise be a land grab.
Every two years, the eight countries trade spots negotiating arctic issues in a political union called the Arctic Council. The Council’s foreign ministers met yesterday in Fairbanks, Alaska to debate these topics. For more on the meeting, we turn to Nils Andreassen, executive director of the Institute of the North.