Home Arctic Ocean, 2020-2050: New maritime routes and a geopolitical game-changer

GEAB 121

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 Jan 2018

Arctic Ocean, 2020-2050: New maritime routes and a geopolitical game-changer

We are free to be cynic whilst looking ahead to our future and anticipating. When new situations occur, we must not hesitate to analyse them thoroughly and try to extract unexpected advantages from them, no matter how politically incorrect it might be.

If we use this approach when analysing the future of oceans, we can not help looking at the North of our planet. Scientists and observers keep noticing that one of the most obvious consequences of climate warming could very well affect Arctic Ocean waters, where the incessant retreat of the pack ice[1] will soon release waterways over longer and longer periods of time, or even throughout the whole year. Defenders of this strategy see this “for the great benefit of the planet”: the routes passing through the North being one-third shorter than usual maritime routes!

Adventure times

Historically speaking, there are two routes: the Northwest Passage[2], tracing a route through the islands of Canada’s Far North, connecting the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The other route is the Northeast Passage[3], connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, but this time along the shores of the Russian Far North.

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Contents

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