Arctic warming poses considerable legal challenges to the region. The fast disappearance of polar ice will increase economic activity, destabilize the environment, and create a host of security issues. Previous discussions have tended to focus on one of these facets in isolation. This Article aims instead to provide the reader with a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of the Arctic region’s legal needs.
The Article first addresses navigation and natural resource disputes arising from the expected increase in Arctic shipping and hydrocarbon exploitation. It then examines the pollution and conservation challenges this increase in human activity will bring. Finally, it analyzes the human security, law enforcement, and military security issues brought about by the Arctic thaw.
The Article concludes by critically evaluating the international community’s current institutional responses to Arctic warming and considering possible measures to address current response gaps, including the possibility of a holistic treaty.