Polar Warming: An Opportune Inconvenience
Centre for Environmental Law and Sustainability Research Paper No. 2012-01
33 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2012
Date Written: September 24, 2012
The inaccessibility of the Polar Regions explains the relative pristine state of these regions to date. The human presence in these regions is presently limited by the extreme climatological circumstances. This will change as a result of polar warming. The ecological boundaries of the Polar Regions will shift in the directions of the geographical poles resulting in a diminishing area of the ecological Polar Regions. Climate change and other ecological processes with an anthropogenic origin, such as the acidification of soils and waters, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the accumulation of persistent organic pollutants in people and animals constitute serious threats for the fragile ecosystems of the Polar Regions. These processes will impact on the capacity of the Polar Regions to supply goods and services of a certain quality in a certain quantity. The use of the Polar Regions will change accordingly. There will be positive changes, but there will also be negative changes. Existing activities will disappear and new activities will emerge. The paper analyzes the legal implications of the changing human footprint the Polar Regions.
Keywords: international environmental law, law of the sea, climate change, Antarctic region, Arctic region
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation