Friday, June 17, 2022

Climate May Yet Represent a Bigger Obstacle to Northern Sea Route than Western Sanctions, Yulin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 30 – Global warming has given Moscow confidence that it will be able to radically expand shipping on the Northern Sea Route and has led Russian officials to believe that Western sanctions against their country are a far larger obstacle to the development of the route than climatic conditions, Aleksandr Yulin says.

            But they are wrong, the head of projections at the Moscow Institute for Research on the Arctic and Antarctic says, both because there has been “a pause” in warming along the route and because the warming of the air is leading to more icebergs being blown into shipping lanes (

            The climate is warming, Yulin says. But the rate of change in the North is slowing. Indeed, one must now speak about “a climatic pause,” given that rates of change are far lower now than they were a decade or more ago. And at the same time, warming has meant that winds have become stronger and these are pushing more icebergs into the shipping lanes.

            That can lead to disaster with ships being trapped far from ports where they can take refuge or be repaired and means that Moscow must build far more icebreakers than it currently is doing if it is to ensure safe passage and any large increase in the amount of traffic the Northern Sea Route can carry.


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