Denmark unveils 'arctic strategy'

Aug. 24, 2011 at 7:35 AM
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COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Melting sea ice in arctic regions is creating resource opportunities but also new challenges for regional governments, the Danish foreign ministry said.

Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen, along with counterparts from the Faroe Islands and Greenland, unveiled an arctic strategy for the next 10 years.

Espersen said the primary goals of the strategy are to make sure sustained economic growth and development of the arctic is done with respect to climate and the environment.

"We are facing big new challenges but also great new opportunities and we want to strengthen our common engagement in the development in the arctic," he said.

Melting sea ice is exposing new shipping lanes as well as untapped oil and natural gas reserves.

Moscow is lobbying to expand its claims in the region by exploring its northern continental shelf.

Scotland's Cairn Energy has expressed optimism about exploration activity off the coast of Greenland, though has so far come up empty-handed.

Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace, sued by Cairn for disrupting its activity, has expressed concern about the potential for environmental damage resulting from any oil spill in arctic waters.

Greenland's government in mid August published a 214-page response plan that outlines monitoring equipment, response plans and spill movement scenarios.

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