The Pros And Cons Of The North Pole

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he Canadian government was expected to submit an application to the UN Commission tasked with evaluating which countries can claim exclusive rights to resources — namely oil and gas — found in waterways far beyond their borders. Instead, however, the country made a surprising pivot: at the insistence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, they submitted a partial application rather than a full one. That's because, according to The Globe and Mail, Harper wants government scientists to seek additional data that would support a more expansive claim — one that includes the North Pole. Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was finalized in 1982, countries can lay claim to ocean floor well beyond their borders — as long as they provide robust scientific evidence to prove that this seabed is an extension of their continental shelf. Already, countries have…show more content…
That specific region isn't thought to contain much in the way of resources. Instead, Byers says, Harper's maneuver is purely political — an effort to bolster his domestic popularity and flex some international muscle. "The North Pole has extreme emotional value; people have an image that's essentially of Santa's workshop," Byers says. "So there's a huge domestic political angle to this, the idea of claiming the North Pole for your country." Byers, for one, is dubious that Canadian scientists will ever amass the kind of evidence Harper's looking for — if they haven't already collected that data, he says, it probably doesn't exist. So while both Harper and Russian president Vladimir Putin want to represent "that strong man of the North image" — and sometimes do, in oft-panned photo ops — at least one of them won't have scientific legs to stand on. (After their first application was rejected for an absence of evidence in 2002, Russia is now doing more mapping to assemble a new

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