Protecting Coastal Communities: International Cooperation against Oil Pollution in the Arctic Ocean

Lead Author Stefan, Kirchner
Institution Contact University of Lapland Faculty of Law Yliopistonkatu 8 C 348 96300 Rovaniemi Finland
Theme Theme 1: Vulnerability of Arctic Environments
Session Name 1.1 Climate Change and Environmental Management in the Arctic
Presentation Type Poster
Abstract text The dramatic reduction of sea ice impacts the Arctic Ocean environment and coastal communities. The reduction in sea ice cover threatens the entire biosphere of the Arctic Ocean. In this project it will be shown how a massive reduction of sea ice coverage will impact local communities along the coasts of the Arctic Ocean. Particular attention will be given to the potential impact of an increase of Arctic Ocean Shipping and the risks for coastal communities which will come with such an increased maritime traffic, which is also driven by COSCO, which announced the first regular liner service along the Northern Sea Route in October 2015.
This increasing risk will then be contrasted against existing international legal rules. While the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, which massively impacted the local coastal community, could have been a wakeup call, international law leaves much to be desired when it comes to prevent ship-borne pollution. While the overwhelming majority of pollution of the seas is caused one land, coastal communities’ long term interests are currently mainly protected through obligatory insurance schemes. It will be shown in this presentation how actors from across the Arctic, including near-Arctic actors, like the China, the UK or the Northrange states, the shipping industry and coastal communities can improve the practical and legal protection for coastal communities through pollution prevention in an increasingly busy Arctic Ocean.