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tv   Corona Spezial  Deutsche Welle  March 19, 2021 5:30am-6:01am CET

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discover the. subscribe to documentary to. who does the arctic belong to the venice region was long seen as a little more than snow and ice but now 3 world powers russia china and the united states leading the charge to take control of the immense natural resources and new trade routes that are opening up even as a potential climate catastrophe takes hold so long to the point we ask our play hole when the race for the arctic's riches.
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thanks very much for joining us here on to the point where my guests are michelle powell a specialist on security issues and the arctic in particular was the german institute for international and security affairs his opinion in light of the competing security interests of russia china and america we urgently need a military dialogue also with us is the oceanographer and climatologist stefan drama stall from the potsdam institute for climate impact research he argues the things that happen in the arctic don't necessarily stay in the arctic and a very warm welcome. filatov from russia deskins. who says the arctic has vast resources and russia wants a big slice of the cake. well thank you all for free for being with me today interesting insights to begin the show and to get us going up like to begin by
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asking all the apparently straightforward question who belong to. it was quite clear and the area around the north pole belongs to the human mankind. the rest was clearly defined by international law a law to see. you russia claimed in 2000 also the arctic is russia. ok a straightforward answer based on principles of law you say why all things so tense around the region at this point in time. the informant chimes of those codes north and low turn right now and the use of the 2 selves and. president putin claimed russia's return as a world power. they started also. room illiterate season in the arctic. reactivating the former basis from the cold war times it's all ok stuff and runs
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through a few of the scientists in our ranks not going to ask you the same question who does the outset belong to because i anticipate we might get a different answer well i think that the the whole arctic ocean should be declared as a common heritage of humanity and the nations should pull together to protect the arctic it's not likely to happen it's it's happened and arctica so it's not out of the question and we are in an unprecedented climate crisis the arctic is warming 3 times faster than the whole globe the ice is melting away and this is affecting all nations from sea level rise from melting greenland ice through the effects on the jet stream and our weather systems in the mid latitudes for example . ok let's bring in the arena fellows who are from boston. you know why is the region suddenly so important everybody is talking about it much more than they were
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what's brought this it's again sort of create the interest. well i wouldn't say that it suddenly got so important the interest in the arctic has been there for decades is just that like. russia declared its return to the arctic 2007 and clearly. there has come more realisation from other countries about strategic importance of this region and of course also arctic got into the spotlight in connection with the estimates. are that scientific. it's about their enormous potential resources that are hidden in the arctic and of course like with out in the introduction everybody was once a big slice of pie this is why the countries have intensified to the arctic countries have intensified their activities in the arctic have started to show more
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ambition but not given them i mean look at china they also have declared themselves a new arctic country although they don't even have a direct access to their arctic ocean. want to sell to russians. and so right. into ordinary russians you're talking a lot about sort of your resources and history what have you but what about you know the russians so. well i need to say that russians are very proud of the arctic there are many examples of that. a very example arctic has become a huge part of the russian cultural legacy there are a lot of books written about it a lot of fairy tales a lot of films have been made in russia about the arctic exploration there is also one fanfare. actually the reason moscow special housed we just told the house of polar research as the house of arctic researchers it was it is also
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actually part of their architectural legacy in russia it's historical it's a memorial right now but the house was built in the 1930 s. for their arctic researchers and deaf families and it's still functioning as a residential house and people leave there still yeah it's even possible to buy a bartlett's over there but then in the 30 years i mean it was actually. degraded and built like in a very fancy way i mean to provide as more comfort for the people who work in the arctic as part of a kind of compensate for the severe condition they have to work and. it is really of the labor just concerned because i think you know i can sense your passion and i can understand the message it's all about prestige and i could hear you michaud sort of nodding in the background here is that the prestige kind of from a distance a little bit of the sort of the cold war space race almost. just on the roles
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of the darkest articles of russian arctic which began in service times was a prisoner camps and it was all it's on the shores from that since. so that's the dark side of the arctic. really became a hot spot now because of the. interests of in the context of great power rivalry. but means. has declared itself in new york to. everybody was a little bit surprised because geographically it makes no sense so we'll talk about that just in just a 2nd the chinese the russians and the americans sort of a 3 way race for a power grab essentially shift and you said something at the beginning of the show the thought was very interesting things that happened at the outset don't necessarily stay in the what you mean. well the arctic is a very vulnerable ecosystem vulnerable region and one of the key factors in terms
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of climate is that it reflects a lot of sunlight by the bright ice and snow surfaces and as these shrink the global warming is amplified and even just shipping activities in the arctic make the ice shrink foster because there is emissions which settle on the bright snow and ice surface as make them daca and that helps to heat up the globe and then when the greenland ice sheet melts there is a tipping point which you know could be reached even below 2 degrees of warming which will mean that eventually it will take a long time but we will get about 7 meters of global sea level rise if we push greenland past that tipping point and then obviously the coasts worldwide will be massively impacted by that ok let's just get some images that will give us a feel for what is at stake in the rivalry that we've already touched on and the
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environmental factors that stefan has been speaking about. the arctic is warming more quickly than any other place on earth from the 7600000 square kilometers of ice that were there 40 years ago only half that amount remains in the next decade there could be no ice there during the summertime. that would make raw materials like oil and gas more accessible as well as rare earths and precious metals it would be a $1000000000.00 treasure industry. 5 countries within the arctic circle each have a 370 kilometer wide zone the usa canada denmark norway and russia. but a huge area around the north pole doesn't belong to any of them so far russia has laid the strongest claim to it. but china also has strong ambitions and the country has already secured rare earths in greenland china now sees itself as
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a near arctic state because of the northeast passage which is eased maritime travel and shortened distances china is the polar silk road exploiting the arctic at what price. well i have mentioned. there is also the gulf stream system which has a huge influence on the climate not only around the north atlantic even down to the tropics and we have recently. started with much stronger evidence that this system is already slowing. due to melt water from greenland diluting the oceans in the north and there is also growing evidence that the disproportionate warming affecting the jet stream and it makes the polar vortex more unstable so this exceptional cold breaks into north america into europe and this january and
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february have to do with the extra. warming of the arctic and so even our weather in the united states in europe is affected by these changes going on in the arctic it's interesting i found a quote from you yourself you started to continue to start trying to dig up fossil fuels is absurd and you appear to be say sorry not just we're not just digging out resources but we're digging our own graves it's pretty drastic well yes all nations have agreed in the paris agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees possible $1.00 degrees and that means we have a limited amount of fossil fuels we can still burn and the known reserves are already about 3 times larger so we have a lot of fossil fuel reserves that are just i'm burnable carbon as it's the technical term is and so it's stupid to spend a lot of money to look for more and highly volatile risky places like the arctic it's specially stupid ok you might say is the price to pay are i see
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a rino mean well there is a prize here p r. because i mean we're looking at incredible resources here politike oil gas precious metals gold you radium and so on who's going to pressure who's going to profit most. well. the one who is the 1st is going to profit most of course because we know that there are huge resources i mean not proven yet but they're suggested they're huge resources in the arctic and russia for example already is trying to claim it's right for more parts of their offshore for example there was a reach it already applied with the united nations and miles of regions actually the part of the shelf where actually it. reserves of the. raw materials supposed to be and if russia managed to get approval from the united
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states from the united nations and if. actually. there is a confirmation that russia can claim these parts of the shelf and sells that russia will be able to develop this potential oil and gas field and now the question is whether it's economically viable for russia to do so it's very difficult to i mean imagine you have to work in the city arctic condition in a very sensitive environment it's a lot of money it really does russia have it not necessarily because we're in the pen demick i mean we see that that russian economy is actually not doing so well recently and also the question of technology matters russia does not necessarily have enough to acknowledge to go forward with all these projects and we can see for example. project. in the arctic it's a project to develop to extract condensate gas. has been put on ice for the next few years because russia acknowledges they don't have enough technology to
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go forward with it so it's a huge question i mean you know this or that was reversed where it wants to go but it's not quite sure how it's going to get you could say exactly. michel or just let's come back to the point that we were talking about suburban the colonial legacy almost all the cars. we all feel toward very soon or we talk a lot about the race about to charge about a push about a power play and about plunder and about countries winning their booty it's very reminiscent of the colonial period the colonial legacy tell us a little bit more about that. it was respect to greenland for example to lose so colonial legal so you those who are still existing to remind greenlanders. they have tools that is still true for independence by for example exploiting reverse. issues the whole debate on the
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arctic goes about. because the interests of clearly is the chinese people have been in greenland was also attractive to us president donald trump you remember who wanted to buy greenland because of a rare earth because it was due to a strategic importance of greenland clearly there are very many aspects. one really interesting thing about this story about the future of the arctic is that it brings together military issues geopolitical issues. economic issues and environmental issues i know you're a person of ideas can you somehow we've got all together to sort of explain how there was the independence of those factors well this is a tough question but i would say what's going on now with the race for resources in the arctic and economic benefits is very much
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a kind of 20th century thing and we're now in the 21st century we're in a climate crisis which threatens civilization as we know it and we all live together on this one fragile planet and we shouldn't be working against each other especially not in the arctic but also not anywhere else we need to. work together to solve this crisis ok. the arctic one said demilitarized zone is now rapidly being militarized in essence with as we've already seen it's a 3 way race for power and influence. for the 1st time the us air force is deploying b. one bombers to norway. just a few weeks after his inauguration president biden is sending a message to russia the usa is prepared to defend its allies against potential russian aggression. experts see it as a signal that the u.s. doesn't want to lose its claim to the arctic. the race for new economic
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opportunities in the arctic has brought with it militarization. the kremlin says russia has been arming itself in the north for years by building army bases to defend its territory and legitimate interests. best 400 missiles can reach greenland or alaska. nato responded to the maneuver with large scale military exercises like the triton juncture war games in norway in 2018. for decades the arctic was regarded as a conflict free zone and how dangerous is this armament. between m.-bone there's a tendency to blame the russians for the militarization of the arctic is that fair . well i mean you have to say that way russia has been seen and still is seen by many countries in the world also by their but
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its neighbor countries and as an aggressor we can see at the bottom stay a look at the baltic states they are very much concerned about potential russian aggression so it's clear that the country is. have some concern so to say about russia's expanding military presence in russia. and they're not wrong vladimir putin would surely come in now and say the russians coastline makes 53 percent of the arctic ocean there are $2000000.00 russians living in the arctic region he would say it's good right that russia is the top dog of the russian or is the most important nation in the region. well russia is not the most important nation in the region 1st of all let's say that way 'd most of their resources which are proven in the arctic they are actually already there allocated in the russian part of the south it's clear it's over 90 percent so
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we don't argue with that but if we see for see from the point of view who are to belongs to i mean of course there is the international religious nation which regulates the issue of the un convention on the law of the sea which tasks that every country only has the 1st 200 c. miles for itself and not more and if you want more you have to go through a long procedure so basically russia is tied by the international legislation just exactly like all other countries ok michelle. china for its part we mentioned it already has called its has decided to call itself a neo arctic state what should we understand that what he said what are the chinese ambitions and how frightening may they be for some. clearly johnnie's interests visions are far reaching. when you and your cause when you call the policy
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drawled as part of the budget road initiative you have. to try paula though it's not only the arctic but it's also as you. have a global ambition was that respect and those are on. the interests of china in greenland for example. china already now as. the bald leader in the production of rare earth elements so it's really the drama dominant player and once even to 2 weeks town. dominant it was still there are very many aspects concerning china especially. in the cooperation with russia. in the field of naval cooperation clearly something people are concerned about. stefan if you were if you had the opportunity to be a german representative in
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a meeting with vladimir putin to talk about the future of the region what would you ask for what would you recommend well i would probably say that. we we need a new era of global cooperation and after the us elections there's more hope for that because we are facing a common enemy and that is global heating. are you. there's a new man in the white house obviously joe biden are you a climatologist are you encouraged by his present presence in the white house because he's also you know when it comes to the arts and he's the reason he's been relatively. word but he's been very gung ho so. well in terms of climate change i am very encouraged because i know john kerry for example personally who is a very good climate diplomat very passionate about the topic and he got the right advisors now some of my really excellent climate science colleagues from the u.s.
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advising the presidency and i think. i think he has said something like the united states is back leading on the climate issue i don't think that i have but i think they are now gearing up to be a leader on the climate issue. who's going to be the lead thereat tensions there are at least 3 for just one question there are smaller nations involved as well and you would so before we came on air you were talking about your concerns about sweden for example to share a little bit of that for with us well sweden just written and most recent arctic struggle. there are military dynamic which they are concerned about and so it's clearly a concern also the us was going to move young countries share. there's an organization called the arctic council we need to mention them sort of explain who they are and what you know what we'll get from the chair will go from iceland to
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russia and me to see your soul we will have russia chairing the arctic council for the next 2 years. hopefully that will be a meeting not only of foreign ministers but also was one kerry in reykjavik and me seoul they could exchange views about the future of the arctic you know you want to mistake from a russian perspective a better possible talks between the players in terms of creating a more. rules based future for the region. well i hope so at least when it comes to the climate change issue because there was kind of a wake up wake up call for russia last year and in the summer of last year when there was a huge these will spill from their facilities often are asked me go there are russia's biggest producer in siberia and a lot of fuel got into december and rivers and these russia doesn't want to speak
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about that openly apparently about these happened because of the thawing permafrost . because this reservoir where they feel was contained was standing on the permafrost. so these is kind of a wake up call for russia holding now will turn their eyes a bit more to their climate change and will talk about that more will be rated to cooperate in this direction more. you know the mystic of the americans could influence the russians in this way that they can seek a dialogue and create dialogue while i make no political judgments as a natural scientist. michelle you said at the beginning of the show we need military dialogue and we need it urgently that's going to give me sleepless nights why do we need military dialogue urgently now because. the americans should talk about military issues in the arctic and the experts quite
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quite agree about that point in those moscow and washington that there should be a dialogue as soon as possible ok last question on the show the question i asked at the beginning who will win the race for the arctic riches stuff on rumsfeld. well i hope we're all together and it shouldn't be a race against each other. to. turn around the arena a new name bomb from the russia did w.'s russia that's going to bomb who is going to win the race for the optics riches. well it's not about who's going out when the race it's about. we don't destroy the sensitive environment i would say and there has to be a come to responsibility of all the countries involved. thank you all 3 for being with us today we've been discussing the future of the arctic i hope things develop well and peacefully in the future if you've enjoyed the show as much as i have and we could do something for us all to come back next time around the by by.
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