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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.
Within the current state of international jurisprudence, there is a growing recognition of the importance of ocean environmental protection. One of the most significant recent examples is the decision in the South China Sea Arbitration, which recognized the obligation of States to protect and preserve the marine environment in disputed territorial or maritime areas. Despite this overall trend, however, serious gaps in State practice remain.