控制北极的石油热

维也纳——急剧萎缩的北极冰盖是地球自然界最显著的变化之一,并由此对环境和经济产生极为深远的影响。一方面,我们将眼睁睁失去地球最大也最重要的生态系统。另一方面,曾经传说中的东北和西北通道能减少一半的运输时间和成本,让中国和日本离欧洲和北美东海岸更近。

北极地区巨大的石油矿产储量开发难度相比目前大大降低将是更直接的结果。阿拉斯加陆地油田和俄罗斯北部陆上天然气田大规模产出碳氢化合物已有多年,但相比北冰洋底的预测储量根本算不了什么。据国际能源企业按现价测算,上述资源可能超过7万亿美元;如果再算上伴生的天然气,那么10万亿美元或许只是比较保守的数字。

由于北冰洋大部水域较浅且位于大陆架上,与之相邻的国家都在争先恐后地宣布按照联合国海洋法公约的规定设立专属经济区。北极理事会在政治上也骤然升温,设立该理事会的初衷是为推动北极各国之间的合作。除加拿大、北欧五国、俄罗斯和美国等八个成员国之外,理事会还吸收了由德、法、英等大国组成的六个常任观察员国。现在,中国、印度和日本也正积极谋求加入。

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