Melting Arctic Opens New Frontier, Challenges07:30

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In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that that the Arctic would be ice free in 60 years.

In new projections, that projection has been reduced to as little as six years.

Already the warming trend is having a devastating impact on plants, animals, and
native seal fishermen, who reportedly sit landlocked and watch huge freighters sail past.

But the melting Arctic ice presents an opportunity for countries that are hoping to capitalize on huge mineral, oil and gas reserves that are now accessible.

Largely they're cooperating under international agreements. But the Arctic is also where geopolitical tensions are playing out.

Russia has a far greater presence in the Arctic than the United States, and this month, the U.S. put military exercises with Russia on hold in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. In one exercise the United States aimed virtual torpedoes at a virtual Russian submarine.

Scott Borgerson, a former Coast Guard officer and Arctic expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, joins Here & Now's Robin Young to discuss the Arctic's new role in the wake of climate change.


  • Scott Borgerson, former Coast Guard officer and Council on Foreign Relations fellow who has been called the United States' foremost expert on the Arctic. He is on the board of The Terramar Project.

This segment aired on March 31, 2014.