Here Be Arctic Dragons

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One year ago Russia planted a flag of ownership on the seabed underneath the North Pole.

Now, with the ice melting before our eyes, the 21st century’s first gold rush is on.

Want to know just who’s after the Arctic’s virgin oil, gas, and minerals? A new map shows the disputed territories that states might lay claim to in the future…

The Arctic Map was put together by researchers at Durham University and shows agreed boundaries, known claims, and potential areas states might claim.

It reflects disagreements over maritime jurisdiction in the Arctic. And the potential for a lot more. Particularly over the continental shelf more than 200 nautical miles from coastlines.

So far the Arctic states have followed the rules for establishing seabed jurisdiction set out in the 1982 Law of the Sea. No one expects such gentlemanly behavior to survive the strike of the first gold nugget.

A pdf of the map explains what all the pretty colors mean.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones’ environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the Kiriyama Prize and the John Burroughs Medal Award.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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