Talking Europe

'The New Silk Road': Arctic melt sparks territorial scramble

It's one of the most evocative places in the world – and until now, one of its most inaccessible. The Arctic is the world’s frozen ocean, a place where as much as a quarter of the world’s valuable oil and gas may be locked within the sea floor. Up until now, those deposits have been out of reach - but climate change is making parts of the Arctic more accessible than ever before. In February of this year, thermometers there hit record highs.


For the countries with territorial claims in the Arctic, this could be a golden opportunity. For environmentalists, the situation could prove catastrophic. And for those with an eye for international relations, there's potential for new clashes among some of the world's most powerful countries.

Three European Union countries (Denmark, Sweden and Finland) are directly involved in Arctic affairs via the Arctic Council. But the wider EU is facing opposition as it continues to keep its foot in the door of the body.

We bring you an exclusive report on an enormous Russian gas plant in the Arctic. We also find out about clashing territorial claims and debate whether the EU, Russia, or anybody else should even be trying to exploit Arctic resources in our age of climate emergency.

A programme presented by Catherine Nicholson.

Produced by Isabelle Romero and Roxane Runel.

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