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The Arctic Shipping and Environmental Management Agreement: A Regime for Marine Pollution

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Climate change is predicted to have particularly challenging impacts throughout the Arctic. For instance, there is a great probability of sea ice melting, leading to increased vessel traffic and oil pollution. Eight major nation-states have vested concerns in the potential opening of Arctic sea routes. They each have pledged to take protective action through the Arctic Council. However, there is still a need to develop an international institution to simultaneously address Arctic marine pollution and protect the needs of these states. This article seeks to design a legally binding regime for oil pollution control in the Arctic. In creating this new regime, we shall utilize several shared design elements of historically effective international regimes and take advantage of the legal innovations of these agreements. Our new regime, entitled the Arctic Shipping and Environmental Management Agreement (ASEMA), will take into account both the economic and environmental interests of the parties involved.

Keywords: Arctic; climate change; international regimes; marine pollution; vessel traffic

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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