As the polar ice caps shrink, the international battle for control of the Arctic Ocean, a body of water surrounded by five countries, and its seabed, is escalating.
The stakes are enormous, with the region estimated to hold up to 50% of the Earth’s remaining reserves of gas and oil, so Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States—not to mention Greenland, Japan and the entire European Union—are all working to stake their claims.
THE BATTLE FOR THE ARCTIC reveals the importance of an ice-free Northwest Passage, a shipping route between Asia and Europe 5,000 kilometers shorter than the Panama Canal route, and examines the competing claims over which nation controls these waters and the natural resources beneath the seabed. The film shows how the competing nations use ships, planes and submarines to explore and map the continental slope in order to prove their claims to the International Seabed Authority.
Through contemporary and archival footage, plus interviews with military, scientific, and diplomatic representatives from the competing nations, the film discusses the legal framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the respective international claims, the methods used to update the navigation charts and map the unknown Arctic Seabed, and the commercial, environmental and defense considerations involved in the region’s development.
"THE BATTLE FOR THE ARCTIC is recommended for its focus on the changing political tensions regarding new levels of access to trade routes and natural resources." —Educational Media Reviews