The melting of the ice may disrupt maritime traffic

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[EN VIDÉO] The North Pole is no longer the same
It is undeniable that the transformation of the Arctic into a warmer, less freezing and biologically different region is underway today. Under the influence of global warming, temperatures are rising, causing the ice to melt and the greening of the tundra, which leads to giant wildfires in the region and a profound modification of the ecology of the animals living in the Arctic. And the consequences are now foreseeable on the entire planet. © NOAA

It’s a fact that ice is forming polar cover in the arctic melt into the horizoneye under the greenhouse effect. This environmental change for the region North Pole It has, and will have, important consequences for the local ecosystems that are organized around this frozen environment, but the impact of that melting The accelerator will certainly be more global, with change in ocean currents Atmosphere, ocean level rise…

However, there is another consequence of this environmental modification and it can, unlike others, be positive, at least from a certain point of view. melting ice pack The Arctic opens up new shipping lanes that could have a major impact on the movement of merchant ships.

Ice making way for merchant ships

In a new study published in PNASa team of climate scientists He explains that by 2065, navigation in the waters of the Arctic Ocean will already be greatly facilitated, with the opening of several passages in particular that will allow ships to pass more freely through the north rather than through it. Suez Canal or Panama.

To get to the different oceans of the world, merchant ships currently do not have many options, and these two artificial channels make it possible to avoid circumventing the African and South American continents with the waters of the Southern Ocean. However, passing through Arctic waters would greatly shorten the route compared to these usual sea routes. Whoever says shorter path, says lower transportation cost, but also carbon traces weaker.

In the face of this diversity of navigable routes, scientists have drawn door bell Alert, calling for the speedy establishment of a legal and environmental framework for navigation in Arctic waters. Because the opening of this ocean can also have powerful geopolitical implications.

Russia may lose control of this part of the world

Currently there is already a northern corridor controlled by Russia, which has the authority to regulate traffic off its coast. Section 234 of Law of the Seaestablished by the United Nations in 1982, states that in order to ensure the prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution by ships, countries with a coastline close to sea routes in the Arctic have the ability to regulate marine traffic there, at least as long as The area remains covered with ice most of the year.

However, Russia has long used this right in its own political interest, particularly by requiring ships to pay the right of way and applying very strict regulations. These restrictions mean that the pass through the north is currently very little used, and companies prefer to go through the Suez and Panama Canals, which is a much longer but cheaper route.

As the ice melts and new roads open, this situation could well change. Russia may lose control of the Arctic Ocean, preferring to use these new, more economical and less energy-intensive roads. energies. Passing through the North Pole will reduce the length of the trip by 30-50% Facing the roads passing through Suez Or Panama, reducing travel time from 14 to 20 days. A huge economic gain. From the point of viewemission subordinate greenhouse gasescan be reduced by 24% per flight.

Faced with the allure of these new sea routes that are about to open, it is necessary to put in place international legislation to regulate maritime traffic in this very sensitive polar region from an environmental and geopolitical point of view.

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