Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Latest Updates

December 23, 2013

5 myths about the North Pole

(Continued)

Recent news reports suggest that the governments of Canada and Russia are vying for control of the region, as when much of Africa was divided up by colonial powers. But Canada's and Russia's efforts to determine their rights over the North Pole's soil and subsurface are part of a well-established international process. Under the terms of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), both states have the right to resources such as oil, gas, minerals and anything else that exists on the bottom of the ocean more than 200 nautical miles off their coasts.

States have the right to determine if they have an extended continental shelf, which is a natural extension of the underwater landmass. They must conduct thorough measurements (no easy task in the Arctic) and then give their findings to a body established by UNCLOS to check their science. This U.N. body determines only if the science submitted is correct. Then it is up to the states involved to resolve any overlaps. So far, Russia, Canada and Denmark are proceeding as the rules prescribe, and there is no reason to expect conflict.

3. There is no international law governing the North Pole.

The waters at and surrounding the North Pole are governed by the same international laws that apply to all other oceans. And as the ice there begins to melt, the water above the seabed will remain international waters. (We've lost about 20,000 square miles of ice per year since 1981.)

If, as the sea warms, new stocks of fish and marine mammals move to the waters in and around the North Pole, then international fishing fleets will have the right to pursue them. In general, the collapse of world fishing stocks is blamed on the weakness of existing rules, including the enforcement of fishing limits and faulty reporting of fishing stocks. Thus, those problems could be exported to the waters of the North Pole and become major international challenges.

Text Only
Latest Updates
  • West Africa Ebola outbreak tops 700 deaths

    Security forces went house-to-house in Sierra Leone’s capital Thursday looking for Ebola patients and others exposed to the disease as the death toll from the worst recorded outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa.
    U.S. health officials urged Americans not to travel to the three countries hit by the medical crisis:  Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Comiskey.jpg Sterling not the only bad owner

    As the Donald Sterling era in with the Los Angeles Clippers looks to be winding down, many are calling him the worst owner in sports history. From being cheap with the players to his most recent racist comments, it's hard to argue against.
    Yet, there are a few owners of athletic teams who can give Sterling a run for title of worst in history.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1,100 layoffs planned at Alpha coal mines in W.Va.

    July 31, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • About 15 UMWA leaders arrested at EPA hearings

    July 31, 2014

  • More than 5,000 coal supporters protest EPA rules

    July 31, 2014