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A NASA satellite image from September 16, 2007 and released on September 21, 2007, shows Arctic summer sea ice. Arctic sea ice melted to its lowest level ever this week, shattering a record set in 2005 and continuing a trend spurred by human-caused global warming, scientists said on September 20, 2007.

REUTERS/NASA/Handout

Rising temps and tensions in the Arctic

As leaders convene in Reykjavik, Iceland, for the Arctic Circle Assembly, geopolitical tensions are rising as fast as the Arctic’s sea level.

Historically, Arctic diplomacy has been shielded from external matters. But melting sea ice is opening up new military, trade, and extraction opportunities up north, pitting NATO Arctic countries against China and Russia, which have been proactively showing dominance in the region.

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Scientists ride their snowmobiles near Kronebreen glacier through the arctic landscape in Norway.

REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Norway takes helm of icy Arctic Council

On Thursday, Norway became the chair of the Arctic Council, the leading forum for intergovernmental cooperation in the region. The transition has been muted, but the stakes are high: It’s taking over from none other than Russia.

As the Arctic heats up as a geopolitical theater (China has called it one of the world’s “new strategic frontiers”), managing it well is top of mind for Arctic states like Canada and the US.

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Arctic Council Meltdown: Europe in 60 Seconds
Arctic Council Meltdown: Europe in 60 Seconds

Arctic Council Meltdown: Europe in 60 Seconds

Will the Arctic Council be able to agree on protection of that very sensitive environment up there?

Well, there's been a meeting of the Arctic Council in Rovaniemi in Finland. And for the first time it has failed to agree on a common declaration. And that is because the US refused any mention, any mention whatsoever, of climate change. That's a setback, no question about that, but let's hope that the participating states can agree on other measures to safeguard a better development of that very fragile part of our world.

How will President Macron and his party do in the European Parliamentary elections?

Well, looks somewhat more problematic if we look at the latest opinion polls. He has been having good momentum, but there has been more momentum for the nationalist forces in the last few weeks. We'll just have to wait and see.

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