The Northwest Passage goes through northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland. According to the European Space Agency, the passageway is now ice-free. Before, it had been virtually impassable, challenging sea captains and explorers for decades. The ESA is unsure when the pass will officially be open, but it is sure to cause a dispute.
Russia, Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United States have already began to fight for the territorial right to the Arctic. Russia caused controversy last month when they sent two small submarines to secretly place their national flag underneath the North Pole. Why? A study has shown that as much as 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas could be within the region. But don’t think it’s happening so fast. Environmentalists claim that a potential oil spill in the region could be devestating for the local wildlife.
Using the Northwest Passage would actually cut pollution. The ships would cut the distance of their trip, avoiding the standard Panama Canal route. But the reality of this situation is clear: arctic ice is melting at a rapid rate. The U.N. says that by the year 2070, all arctic ice will be completly gone.Is the arctic and the world ready for a major trade route? We’ll see.