Cover Osteuropa 5/2020

In Osteuropa 5/2020

Climate change and competition between the major powers
Challenges to regional cooperation in the Arctic

Christoph Humrich

Deutsche Fassung


In the Arctic, global climate change has already had a fundamental impact on people and the environment. The extraction of raw materials and shipping are becoming easier. The political consequences of these developments are the subject of heated debate. Some observers predict an escalation of inter-state conflicts. Others regard the Arctic as being an exceptional region in which shared interests and a spirit of cooperation prevent confrontation. To date, the eight states on the Arctic Council have consistently favoured cooperation. However, in 2019, the USA did a U-turn, declared the Arctic an arena for competition between the major powers and announced that it will increase its military involvement in the region. As a result, the potential for conflict has risen. Now more than ever, it is important that forms of regional cooperation are upheld. The change of course by the USA also demonstrates the high level of influence of global political developments on the Arctic, however.

(Osteuropa 5/2020, pp. 99–115)