The North West Passage

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Climate warming in the Arctic: good news for the shipping industry

Keywords: arctic, based ice cream, Northwest Passage, water route, Asia, Europe, transport, cargo

The Arctic region is experiencing rapid elevation of its average temperature.

This is one of the places of the planet most sensitive to climate warming. The specialists believe that due to the greenhouse effect, the average temperature should stabilize between 4 and 7 from 2070 ° C, causing the total melting of the ice cap icebox. And within a few decades (after 2050 of Environment Canada) browsers should benefit summers without ice.

This disappearance of ice will open new shipping routes that will link the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. The first route, called the "Northwest Passage", runs along the northern coast of Canada, the second is the "Northeast Passage" along the coast of Russia, and a third potential route is the "Arctic Bridge".

These new routes will save nearly 10.000 km between Europe and Asia over the current route via Panama and the passage of larger cargo vessels (up to 155.000 70.000 tonnes tonnes against Panama). This represents significant savings for the shipping industry and promises a strong development of Canada's northern regions (especially the port of Churchill, Manitoba) and Russia.

The North West Passage map

According to Robert Huebert, a professor of Political Studies at the University of Calgary and deputy director for Strategic Studies Centre and Military, Canada North area is neglected by the government Federal whereas it possesses the longest coastline and a potential significant resources. Climatic events will bring Canada's Arctic region has to face new international challenges. It classifies these challenges in three

  • international disputes about the control of the Arctic Region.
  • Environment: climate change, mercury storms, presence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and radionuclides (most of these contaminants are transported to the North by the atmospheric and oceanic currents from agricultural and industrial sources LOCATED further south) and finally, a corollary of the melting ice, the disappearance of almost all species living on the sea ice.
  • Security: emergence of a new entry point in North America requiring a control.
  • D'after Robert Huebert, the situation in the Arctic area poses no problems in the immediate but Canada should think about a coherent and comprehensive strategy to protect its interests at best, before waiting there emergency .


    1) Read the report "Northern Interests and Canadian Foreign Policy" (by Rob Huebert)

    2) Synthesis of the second report of the evaluation of contaminants in the Canadian Arctic

    3) The North West Passage map


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