Melting ice could disrupt marine traffic

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[EN VIDÉO] The Arctic is no longer the same
The transformation of the Arctic into a warmer, less frozen and biologically diverse region continues undeniably today. Under the influence of global warming, temperatures are rising, melting ice and greening the tundra, triggering massive forest fires in the region and profoundly changing the environment of animal populations living in the Arctic. And now results are awaited for the entire planet. © NOAA

It is a reality created by ice. arctic pole cap melt at sighteyelash under the influence of global warming. This environmental change in the region Arctic This has and will have significant consequences for local ecosystems organizing around the frozen environment, but the impact melting accelerated will certainly be much more global, a change in ocean currents and an increase in atmospheric, ocean level…

However, this environmental change has another consequence, and unlike others, it may be positive, at least from a certain point of view. melt ice pack The Arctic is indeed opening up new sea routes that can significantly affect the traffic of merchant ships.

Ice leading to merchant ships

In a new study published PNASa team climatologists It shows that by 2065, navigation in the waters of the Arctic Ocean will indeed be greatly facilitated, in particular the opening of many passages that will allow ships to pass more freely in the north. suez canal or that of Panama.

To reach the different oceans of the world, commercial ships currently do not have many options, and these two artificial channels make it possible to avoid bypassing the waters of the Southern Ocean and the continents of Africa and South America. However, a pass through Arctic waters would shorten the path considerably compared to these usual sea routes. Who says shorter way, low shipping cost, but also carbon footprint weaker.

Confronted with this diversification of navigable routes, scientists still door bell Alert, calling for the rapid establishment of a legal and environmental framework for navigation in Arctic waters. Because the opening of this ocean could also have powerful geopolitical consequences.

Russia could lose control over this part of the world

At present there is indeed a northern passage controlled by Russia with the authority to regulate the passage through its shores. Chapter 234 maritime lawEstablished by the UN in 1982, to ensure the prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution by ships, it stipulates that countries with coastlines close to Arctic sea routes have the capacity to regulate maritime traffic as long as it is minimal. The region remains covered with ice for most of the year.

However, Russia has used this right for its own political interests for a long time, especially by asking ships to pay the right of way and applying very strict regulations. These restrictions mean that the northbound is a much longer but cheaper route, with little use at the moment, with companies opting to go through the Suez and Panama Canals.

With the melting of the ice and the opening of new roads, this situation may well change. Russia could well lose control of the Arctic Ocean by supporting the use of these new, more economical and less energy-intensive routes. energies. Crossing the North Pole will indeed reduce the length of the journey by 30% to 50%. Overlooking the roads passing through Suez or Panama, thus reducing travel time from 14 days to 20 days. An important economic gain. from perspectiveemission between greenhouse gascan be reduced by 24% for each trip.

In the face of the attractiveness of these new sea routes that are about to be opened, international legislation that will regulate maritime traffic in this environmentally and geopolitically sensitive arctic region needs to be implemented urgently.

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