The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, Arctic Council and Multilateral Environmental Initiatives: Tinkering While the Arctic Marine Environment Totters

41 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2012

See all articles by David VanderZwaag

David VanderZwaag

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law

Robert Huebert

University of Calgary - Department of Political Science

Stacey Ferrara

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

The Arctic marine environment is not pristine, as commonly imagined, but is facing numerous pressures,' the most serious arguably coming from outside the region. Melting of sea ice, linked to global warming, threatens the long-term survival of various species including polar bears and has potential to seriously disrupt ocean currents. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including pesticides, industrial compounds and combustion by-products, are transported via air and water currents from regions outside the Arctic and become concentrated in the fatty tissues of animals." The pollutants threaten not only the well being of wildlife but the health of northern residents heavily dependent on country foods. Heavy metals, such as mercury, lead and cadmium, coming from various transboundary sources, including fossil fuel combustion and waste incineration, are also contaminating the Arctic marine environment. Most Arctic bird species are migratory and during the winter months may accumulate various contaminants from industrialized locations further south and pass along pollutants to other Arctic animals when the birds become prey. Ozone holes over the Arctic, while smaller in size and of shorter duration than in the Antarctic, raise concerns with negative effects on marine phytoplankton production and human health effects such as skin cancer.

Keywords: Arctic, marine, environment, global warming, ocean currents, POPs, pollution

Suggested Citation

VanderZwaag, David and Huebert, Robert and Ferrara, Stacey, The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, Arctic Council and Multilateral Environmental Initiatives: Tinkering While the Arctic Marine Environment Totters (2001). Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 30, No. 131, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2126185

David VanderZwaag (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

6061 University Avenue
6061 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

Robert Huebert

University of Calgary - Department of Political Science ( email )

2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N1N4
Canada

Stacey Ferrara

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

6061 University Avenue
6061 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

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