|Should the law governing maritime areas in the Arctic adapt to changing climatic circumstances?|
Franckx, E. (2011). Should the law governing maritime areas in the Arctic adapt to changing climatic circumstances? Calif. West. Int. Law J. 43(2): 397-432
In: California Western International Law Journal. California Western School Of Law: San Diego, Calif.. ISSN 0886-3210, more
The legal regime of the Arctic maritime areas has long remained on the backburner as far as the creation of multilateral agreements is concerned. The Arctic's inhospitable climate created natural barriers for the activities of man and limited the usefulness of available technology. At present, however, climate change seems to be responsible for a marked heating up, 1 not only of the physical environment of the Arctic, but of the political tensions concerning the exact legal regime to be applied in the region.This Article will examine the present-day legal status of the Arctic. Since almost all territorial claims have been settled in the area, 2 only Arctic water areas will retain our attention. And, within the multitude of possible offshore activities, this Article will focus solely on navigation. Part I discusses the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 3 which seems to have finally become a generally accepted legal cornerstone for appreciating the legal status of these waters. Part II considers climate change in the Arctic and Part III elaborates on how this may impact the legal regime of navigation there. Subsequently, Part IV analyzes the vulnerability as well as the adaptive capacity of the 1982 Convention. Finally, Part V suggests how the existing legal system can better meet the new challenges climate change poses for Arctic water expanses.