World powers are racing to exploit the vast untapped resources of the Arctic as global heating opens up a new frontier
Donald Trump’s cack-handed attempt to buy Greenland, and the shirty response of Denmark’s prime minister, provoked amusement last week. But it was mostly nervous laughter. The US intervention shone a cold light on a rapidly developing yet neglected crisis at the top of the world – the pillage of the Arctic.
Like the late 19th-century “scramble for Africa”, when European empires expanded colonial control of the continent’s land mass from 10% to 90% in 40 years, the Arctic region is up for grabs. As was the case then, the race for advantage is nationalistic, dangerously unregulated, and harmful to indigenous peoples and the environment.