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Polar explorer certain Russia can obtain rights to Arctic shelf in 2020

August 02, 11:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Hero of the Soviet Union and Russia, prominent Arctic explorer Artur Chilingarov expects the UN to recognize Russia’s rights to the Arctic continental shelf

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© AP Photo/David Goldman

MOSCOW, August 2. /TASS/. Hero of the Soviet Union and Russia, prominent Arctic explorer Artur Chilingarov expects the UN to recognize Russia’s rights to the Arctic continental shelf within the next few years.

"After our expedition, Russia was actively gearing up for our second bid for the Arctic continental shelf, which it filed a year ago," he told TASS. "Now it’s up to the UN and the commission on the law of the sea to decide. That will take from three to five years, and, if there are no political maneuvers, as a scientist I believe that we will obtain worldwide rights for Arctic by 2020-2023, and that is 1.2 million square kilometers," Chilingarov stated.

Ten years ago, Chilingarov and a team of polar explorers descended to the Arctic seabed at the intersection of geographical meridians in the Mir-1 and Mir-2 bathyscaphes. The expedition was part of a program to explore the Arctic continental shelf and Russia’s Lomonosov Ridge.

Paris Agreement 

The Paris climate agreement ratified by Russia in April 2016 will help preserve the nature of the Arctic region, he went on. 

The scientist recalled that climate change has had a profound impact on the Arctic region. The area and thickness of the ice shell is decreasing, which makes research in the northern latitudes difficult. Although, according to Chilingarov, the climate change process depends more on the glacial period cycles, he supports the idea of reducing emissions into the atmosphere.

"As Special Presidential Envoy for International Cooperation in the Arctic Region, I fully support the initiative to join the Paris agreement. That should have a positive impact on the development of cooperation in the region," the scientist said.

Washington earlier decided to withdraw from the Paris agreement. US President Donald Trump said the move stemmed from the excessive financial burden for the country due to the need to comply with strict environmental standards. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Washington’s decision will lead to an additional 0.3- degree increase in temperatures by 2100.

Legislators to visit Arctic

Representatives from the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and members of the State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for Regional Policy and Issues of the North and Far East will take part in an Arctic conference onboard an icebreaker ship travelling in the Arctic Ocean, he said. 

"The Duma and its Commission for Issues of the North will take special interest in the matter," said Chilingarov, who holds the titles of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of the Russian Federation. "In August, even though it will be at the height of the vacation season, a team of the State Duma members will travel to the Arctic on a nuclear icebreaker ship. Konstantin Kosachev [the chairman of the Federation Council Commission for Foreign Affairs - TASS] and some other people will represent the Federation Council," the researcher added.

The Arctic conference will be dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Soviet ‘Arctic’ ship’s expedition to the North Pole. Members of the Russian parliament will spend ten days at sea, while scientists and polar researchers will give them the lowdown on the problems that the region has been facing.

This is not the only important date on Arctic research that August will mark. On August 2, 2007, Artur Chilingarov and his team performed a dive into the Arctic Ocean in the Mir-1 and Mir-2 bathyscaphes, installing a titanium-made Russian flag at the ocean bottom. It was the first expedition of this kind. 0bea/pa.

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