Symposium introduction.

Author:Marshall, Peter C., Jr.

The last ten years have been the warmest on record. During 2007, Arctic sea ice dropped to the lowest levels since measurements began in 1979. Valuable natural resources in the Arctic, including gas and oil, are becoming more accessible to exploitation. The Northwest Passage--a highly desirable shipping route connecting Europe and Asia--is increasingly navigable during the summers. These changes have highlighted new and unresolved legal issues as the nations bordering the Arctic vie for control of these new waters and the resources that lie beneath them.

In February 2009, the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law invited some of the most prominent thinkers in their respective fields to explore the multitude of legal and political issues created by the melting of the Arctic. The participants analyzed how to reconcile the rights and interests of competing nations and how the fragile Arctic environment and...

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