Many troubling stats about climate change's effect in the North Pole region are tucked into Newsweek's article on the geopolitical gold rush taking place up there.
Countries with borders along the Arctic Sea stand to win seabed rights to the newly-unfrozen riches in the area, and many are appealing to a UN committee that will govern those claims. Republican senators have blocked the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for years, fearing it will diminish American sovereignty in the region:
During recent summers, the U.S. icebreaker Healy has hosted scientists mapping and taking samples of the sea bottom off northern Alaska, in preparation for the U.S. making a similar claim—it could potentially gain new territory twice the size of California. But unlike other Arctic nations, the U.S. currently cannot make claims, because it's the only one that hasn't ratified the treaty, despite support for it from both the Bush and the Obama administrations, the military, shippers, oil companies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and environmental groups.