The Battle for the Arctic

The Battle for the Arctic

2012, Environment  -   32 Comments
Ratings: 7.44/10 from 32 users.

The Battle for the ArcticThe Arctic holds thirteen percent of the world's undiscovered oil and thirty percent of its untapped natural gas, which is trillions of dollars of potential profit.

And that means, here in the far north, issues of sovereignty, security, environment, and trade are intersecting at colossal pace.

This documentary looks at the potential environmental impact of resource extraction in the Arctic, and what that might mean for the people who live there.

The UN has imposed a 2013 deadline for the submission of scientific claims to the Arctic seabed. It is the precursor to a resource boom which would see Canada, the US, Russia, Norway and Greenland all attempt to exploit the region's resources.

These Arctic countries are desperately mapping out their territories so they can tap into the fossil fuels and minerals locked beneath the fast melting ice.

And with global warming speeding up the melting of the Polar ice caps, potential shipping routes are opening up - raising concerns about oil spills, and control over these new passageways.

More great documentaries

32 Comments / User Reviews

Leave a Reply to Frank Matthews Cancel reply

  1. PieMan

    looks like this Arctic needs some good ol Merican freedom and some religion too !

  2. Fasciatus

    Thing is that Arctic states become more aware of the problems and threats posed by climate change and improper resources exploitation. Russia and Norway, US and Canada have already shown a lot of positive examples in collaborative search and rescue exercises, joint oil spill drills, and it's a very positive tendency. It points at their wish to use Arctic riches peacefully.
    In fact, joint research projects in the field of Arctic ecology show that these countries are ready to preserve beautiful nature of the region and use its resources in accordance with international ecological standards.
    The main thing now is to make oil-drilling and other corporations that want to get benefits from the region increase their research activity in the field of working in extreme weather conditions and new equipment.
    This is the measure which may help avoid possible emergencies.

  3. DigiWongaDude

    "Change will happen, when the fear of things staying the same outweighs the fear of change." - DigiWongaDude

  4. DistributedIntelligence

    The cyclic exposure of the northern waterways is a great opportunity to restart our stalled American economy.

    Let's settle new colonies practicing old fashioned independence. Ice cities with underground structures, breeder power plants and large naval bases nearby, anyone?

  5. DigiWongaDude

    As much as the oil companies and governments themselves seem unable to learn from past mistakes, we do not seem to learn that our little voices have little substance in the face of facts...

    Demand for energy and hydrocarbon based products, 13% of world's supply under that ice and world energy needs set to double in the next 40 years. (see this video) - that's what the protests and arguments are up against.

    Bitching about the U.S. foreign policy and environmental issues misses the mark (sorry but it's true) when the our accelerating demand for this 'black gold' so outstrips the finite, dwindling supply. If we had alternatives, believe me profiteering would drive our progress towards it. That time is not now.

    The area in virtually untouched, arguably belongs to no-one and with vast potential profits beckoning, it is sadly realistic that I say no amount of protesting will not stop the onslaught or exploitation of the inhabitants or the land.

    Because the whole world will use (and benefit) from the removal of this resource, it is up to us to ensure that profits are squeezed and no one company (or their shareholders) can make any grossly significant profit from the endeavour - just enough to convince them to do it, since it can not be stopped. We can not stop it, but we can at least take CONTROL of it. The grossly significant profits from permits and exploitation go back to the land and its creatures, so that for once in our miserable existence, we can stand together and proudly say that we as a species have finally managed to do something good in this world that goes beyond extending the longevity of our lives.

    When this goes ahead, and we watch our TV's in horror at the next disastrous injustices, look in the mirror and ask "What did I do?"

    1. Allan Young

      " it is sadly realistic that I say no amount of protesting will not stop the onslaught or exploitation of the inhabitants or the land. "

      Actually the reason that protesting doesn't work is because the people say one thing and then demand another. If you shout all day about blood for oil, or clean energy or whatever it wont make a difference if you buy gas at the end of the day.

      Simply put, if you don't want to support oil companies STOP SUPPORTING OIL COMPANIES. STOP BUYING THEIR OIL.

      Actions speak louder than words, and until your words match your actions, I say STFU about it.

    2. DigiWongaDude

      @ Allan Young. Good call.

      I have to say my ranting 'solution' won't work (i hold my hands up), it just hit me hard that stifling profits will only kill innovation and lead to shortcuts and even greater disasters in the long run. When it comes to the markets and profiteering, I'm torn between Keynes and Hayek on government intervention - who I saw as our go-to-guys to demand the corporations toe the line. But Hayek (who said hands off the market) didn't seem to account for limited resources AT ALL, and seems much more interested in infinite growth (which is impossible). Keynes (advocating government regulation and intervention) leads to stagnation, inflation and unemployment. Clearly we can't turn to our governments or economists for support, and the result is a free for all exploitation of all the world's resources. What to do? Stop supporting oil companies, stop buying oil? We can't even get poeple to turn off the TV, think critically or even wake up for the most part. All the while the plunder continues.

    3. DigiWongaDude

      @ Allan Young
      ...and...even if we all stopped buying oil, and oil based products (plastics and food that is non-organic), the industries won't stop supporting them.

      Just saying that boycotting isn't the solution either, even though you make your point of hypocrisy well.

    4. dewflirt

      Shame that plan of diluting it with the gulf of Mexico didn't work out :/

    5. DigiWongaDude

      @ dewflirt, so your point is that even WITH vast profits they still behave incredulously. Sigh, you're right. It's like letting junkies run a chemist. It'll always end in tears, because the real reason they are there is for their own interests. OK so hyperthetically then...what if some organisation like Green Peace ran the whole shabang? And the oil companies (etc.) were mere subcontractors? Now instead of the junkies running the chemists, they're just working the tills... Nope that won't work either will it? Trick is to get the junkies out of the chemist altogether.

      So let Green Peace do it directly, hiring responsible engineers and the sourcing the technical knowhow (project managers etc.), so they do it themselves, raising the development costs, and wages, through speculative investment loans.

      ...Except Green Peace wouldn't want the job. It would be like asking anti-war demonstrators to fight the fight instead of the military. In fact the only ones lining up to do the job are the flippin junkies and their friends!!!!

      I ask, where does the buck stop?

    6. wald0

      Really, you think you don't support oil companies simply because you didn't buy gas? You need to pay closer attention, you support them just like everyone else unless you live under a rock and use almost no modern technology at all its impossible not to. Oil is in everything from toothpaste to car upholstery to fertilizer- you eat right?

    7. Allan Young

      Waldo, No I don't think gas is the only way, but just saying gas I felt was enough to get my point across rather than listing all the individual ways we support oil as an industry.

    8. Erin Fagan

      This is completely true. All we can do is try to decrease what we use, but people who think that they are not supporting the oil companies at all are just kidding themselves. I am an activist with Greenpeace, I have literally dedicated my life to fighting for the Earth against culprits like "Big Oil", and I try to cut down on unnecessary consumption of *many* things-- I thrift and upcycling, I grow my own food and am vegetarian, I walk/bike when I can, etc... but in the world we have built, you cannot escape it completely, and there is NOTHING wrong with that! It's about doing everything that you can reasonably do! Give back and fight for the Earth, meet with elected officials, educate others... Don't think that boycotting BP is *really* doing anything.

    9. wald0

      Thankyou, you said what i should have. I fully support cutting back as much as we can and trying to not support any corporation that is polluting, premoting fossil fuels, etc. I also walk and ride my bike when possible, I live on a fully self sustainable farm (small farm I should say), I am not a vegitarian but in my opinion that isn't truly neccessary. If we would simply be reasonable about how much meat we consume, make sure we treat animals with the dignity and respect that any living, consciouse creature deserves- we could all do it and not harm the planet. Life feeding on life is natural, its correct in some intuitive sense- whether it be plant or animal- its life we really consume.
      I refuse to harm any living thing that has a sense of self, because I feel that is the prerequisite for suffering. To have a sense of self is recognize ourselves as seperate and distinct from all that surrounds us. As a result it is lmitation, if I am me then I can't simply be anything at any time-I am limited to being me. This is the root of suffering in my opinion. "I" is a first person pronoun which referrs to the speaker's sense of self- notice how every want or desire you have starts with "I"- I want this or I want that. The "I" is essential, without it thier would be no desire or want, only intuitive reaction. This is how the cattle that I raise lives, just intuitive reaction with no consciouse intent or desire.
      That said our moral sensibilities of course are defined and shaped by where we developed and who we developed around, so its hard to say anyone perspective is really "correct". Thanks for your reply, it was nice talking with you. Haven't seen you before on Top Docs so- Welcome, always nice to have another point of view expressed- I think the truth is out thier somewhere existing as a sort of hodge podge of all comments combined into one.

  6. Frank Matthews

    The Arctic has nothing to do with the US it's more Canada's and the US has no right to be there they have the south to worry about the north is Canada's period.

    1. batvette

      Alaska? Ignorant much?

  7. Frank Matthews

    The US need to get there greedy ass out of there they don't own anything in the north so I don't see why they are up there it's Canada's and Russia's and Greenland's land not the greedy Americans

  8. idealpointer

    probably part of the reason the US are using HAARP to help speed up the heating of our atmosphere!

  9. KsDevil

    The image presented when watching Ice Road Truckers is a little different. They talk about all of the environment regulations the truckers and drilling rigs have to comply with, you are left with the impression it's fairly clean operation.
    But this might explain why the reaction to climate change is not very strong in the busienss world. Less ice means more money....even if it's still just a temporary situation. After all, the oil and gas and their injection into the atmosphere will not last forever.

    1. IndustryOfBlame

      I agree, but this situation makes me wonder just how desperate our economies will be for oil in the coming decades. Perhaps there will be no more unjustifiable means for these oil companies. If the line isn't drawn here, where will it be? There will always be more hydrocarbons in the ground, the question is just what we are willing to pay to get to them.

      The only other way we could hope to maintain our current energy-driven economy in the short term is through the use of conventional nuclear fission, and we all know the danger which that implies. Deuterium-tritium as well as other kinds of fusion are a long way from commercial application, in large part because of lack of research funding, and the solar+wind+hydro alternatives simply can't provide enough.

    2. fonbindelhofas

      "solar+wind+hydro alternatives simply can't provide enough." oil propaganda sold to public to keep oil rolling.

  10. War Dog 666 - U

    Arctic oil exploration will turn the region into another garbage dump strewn with hydrocarbon pollution. It isn't realistic to presume the principals involved will treat the Arctic responsibly because their environmental impact histories are all terrible. There is more reason to believe the Arctic will be significantly ruined despite the hollow promises otherwise. Concentrating on sustainable energy and conservation would be more practical in the long haul verses these get rich quick schemes which have created universal hardships more so than anything else. The worst case scenario is war in the Arctic to whist bombing oil production facilities would take place. The pieces are once again coming together producing yet another environmental holocaust our world cannot afford.

    1. Jeremy Hughes

      Who needs ice caps lol, we have JESUS he will save us, christians told me this... !!! = )

      Let's just trust the republicans and their oil buddies, what harm could they do?


    2. thumper58

      I live in Scotland and have seen this documentary, I agree totally with many who express their opinion of the greedy yanks. They cant fight wars in other countries without getting their arse kicked? Vietnam should have told them something about stupidity, but as always stupid is as stupid does, they will not change, but they will change everything around them to the detriment of us all. LEAVE CANADA TO THE CANADIANS .... THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING unlike the yanks.

    3. batvette

      TAILINGS PONDS. As for Vietnam well you're welcome for the cold war. "Friend".