Tiny Denmark is following in the footsteps of Canada and Russia, staking out its claim to Arctic territory in advance of global warming making the region's resources more exploitable.
The monthlong Danish expedition will seek evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,240-mile underwater mountain range, is attached to the Danish territory of Greenland, making it a geological extension of the Arctic island.At what point, do you think, will US commentators realize these nations are serious about stealing a geopolitical advantage from climate change and this isn't a silly make-fun-of-Russian-subs story? Or that Bush and the conservative movement's dumb denial of global warming for so long has left the US with a massive hole in its future foreign policy planning?
That might allow the Nordic nation to stake a claim under a U.N. treaty that could stretch all the way the North Pole, although Canada and Russia also claim the ridge.
``The preliminary investigations done so far are very promising,'' Helge Sander, Denmark's minister of science, technology and innovation told Denmark's TV2 on Thursday. ``There are things suggesting that Denmark could be given the North Pole.''
The Danes plan to set off from Norway's remote Arctic islands of Svalbard aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which will be assisted by a powerful Russian nuclear icebreaker to plow through ice as thick as 16 feet in the area north of Greenland.
``No one has ever sailed in that area. Ships have sailed on the edges of the ice but no one has been in there,'' the expedition leader, Christian Marcussen, said in Copenhagen. ``The challenge for us will be the ice.''
The team includes 40 scientists, 10 of them Danish, and the crews of the icebreakers, which will use sophisticated equipment, including sonar, to map the seabed under the ice.
``We will be collecting data for a possible (sovereignty) demand,'' said Marcussen, of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. ``It is not our duty to formulate a demand of ownership.''