The Artic Circle

The Arctic Circle; a place 4809 km from the Netherlands with sub-zero temperatures and generally, pretty inhospitable to humanity. So why in recent years have three world powers taken an interest in this “desolate wasteland” and what exactly has been going on there? Short answer: economic factors, control and climate change. Long answer? Keep reading.

Establishing and regulating borders is an important subject for any ruling nation, given you need to know what you have access to and can use for your benefit. Given that most of the Arctic Circle is ocean and ice, the United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea comes into play. For those unfamiliar with it, the UNCLOS establishes how a nation’s coastal territory goes. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the exclusive economic zone, the continental shelf, and the controls a nation has over its waters. A nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) spans 200 nautical miles (370km from the coastline (or baseline, depending on the nation) and the nation has the sole rights to all-natural resources within it. Generally, a nation's continental shelf falls within its EEZ but it can extend beyond it. If that is the case, then the nation has the right to mine or extract whatever natural resources that are below or on the