Foreign Policy Blogs

Managing a Living Planet

Commodifying nature: The price of ice

Commodifying nature: The price of ice

A graduate student recently interviewed me for his dissertation on Russia, the Arctic, oil and gas. During the interview, he asked me what I believed was the single most important Arctic resource. The answer could have been oil, gas, minerals, fisheries, or any other number of commodities. I responded that …

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Russia opens first of ten new search and rescue centers in the Arctic

Russia opens first of ten new search and rescue centers in the Arctic

On August 20, the first of ten new Russian search and rescue centers along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) opened in Naryan-Mar in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO). The governor of the NAO, Igor Fyodorov, and Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) Aleksander Chupriyan, opened the center. The EMERCOM sites …

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Ecuador Reverses Course

Ecuador Reverses Course

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, president of the smallest oil producing and exporting member of OPEC, has committed to expanding oil drilling – from the current 513,000 barrels of oil per day. President Correa announced last week that he signed an executive decree to end the Yasuni Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tipuni (ITT) initiative. ITT …

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All eyes on China as cargo vessel takes to the north

All eyes on China as cargo vessel takes to the north

On August 8, the Chinese cargo ship Yong Sheng set sail from Dalian, a port city in northeastern China. The Hong Kong-flagged vessel, owned by Chinese state-owned company Cosco Group, is bound for Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, with its cargo of steel and heavy equipment. But unlike most ships from …

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The Developing World’s Runaway Energy Train

The Developing World’s Runaway Energy Train


 
 
As the developing world continues its economic expansion, it is predicted to leave the developed world in its dust in regards to increase in energy consumption over the next 25 plus years or so. Dominant forces of China and India will …

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As the Puffin Flies: The UK and the Arctic

As the Puffin Flies: The UK and the Arctic


The Farne Islands, England lie at 55 degrees N. Off the coast of Northumberland, they’re not too far from Newcastle, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. I took a boat trip out to the islands a few weeks ago and saw thousands of puffins. The black …

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Alaska and Arctic Shipping: Boon or Boondoggle?

Alaska and Arctic Shipping: Boon or Boondoggle?


At the July 16-18 Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic held in Washington, D.C., Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski asserted, “When it comes to circumpolar navigation in the Arctic, regardless …

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Efforts to Light Africa Increase

Efforts to Light Africa Increase

President Obama’s trip to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania was touted as a commitment to begin a new partnership with the rising continent. Home to 6 of the 10 fasted growing economies, Africa has made great strides – the International Monetary Fund predicts growth of 5.4 percent this year and …

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Quebec Oil-Train Accident Assures Building of XL Pipeline

Quebec Oil-Train Accident Assures Building of XL Pipeline

Lac Megantic, Quebec, is a little town near the border with Maine, and it’s the kind of place where news doesn’t get made. Unfortunately for the people there, the town made headlines on July 6 when a number of oil tanker cars somehow rolled a few miles from the train’s …

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The Shard Protest: Six against Four Million

The Shard Protest: Six against Four Million

Just last year, protestors in Nunavut spoke out against the high cost of milk and other basic foodstuffs. But few international media outlets paid attention to these protests, even though they touched upon an issue just as central to the Arctic as the environment: human development and well-being.
In comparison, the …

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The United Kingdom Continues its Breeze at the front of the Pack

The United Kingdom Continues its Breeze at the front of the Pack

Britain continues to hold the distinction of being home to the largest offshore wind farm in the world. And with as much offshore wind capacity already installed across the U.K. as the rest of the world combined, it will likely maintain its global industry leadership for years to come.
Prime Minister …

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Canadian seeks to find traces of Arctic explorers 100 years on – but is it necessary?

Canadian seeks to find traces of Arctic explorers 100 years on – but is it necessary?

A ship drops anchor in the Beaufort Sea, high in the Canadian Arctic. A group of scientists disembark to map the surrounding area and study the ice and flora and fauna. It may sound like 2013, but these events actually took place 100 years ago.
In 1913, the Canadian Arctic Expedition …

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President Obama Decides Time is Right for Climate Change Plan

President Obama Decides Time is Right for Climate Change Plan

As immigration legislation is prodded through the U.S. Senate then likely to collect mothballs in the U.S. House of Representatives, and major Supreme Court decisions are announced, the executive branch has garnered a portion of the headlines. Ready to take on another challenge, President Obama laid out his plan to …

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East Asian Diplomacy in the Arctic

East Asian Diplomacy in the Arctic

The chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Yu Zhengsheng, visited Finland, Sweden, and Denmark earlier this month. In Finland, the president and CEO of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (E.K.), Jyri Häkämies, expressed that the two countries’ expertises are complementary. …

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Norwegian Company Starts Thorium Reactor Test

Norwegian Company Starts Thorium Reactor Test

Ever since the nuclear power industry was born, its proponents have tried to find safer ways of using nuclear fission to generate electricity. And there is no doubt that the reactors built today are safer than those erected in the 1950s. However, the main problem with nuclear power as it …

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