So the political temperature is rising at the North Pole – an unlikely flashpoint, you might think. Canada’s reckless claim to sovereignty of the northern tip of Earth’s axis will prompt territorial rivals to build up their military presence, with alarming consequences for one of our planet’s few remaining wildernesses.
Vladimir Putin instantly ordered Russia’s defence chiefs to build up military infrastructure and units in the Arctic. Denmark, the US and Norway also want to control as much of the region as they can, with the US Geological Survey estimating that it contains 15 per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 per cent of natural gas, as well as new shipping routes through the retreating ice. So even if Canada’s landgrab fails – and it is showboating by the PM Stephen Harper for his domestic audience – it may spark the predicted polar arms race. The hawks ascend. And all this for inhospitable territory where the water is two miles deep, covered by sea ice in winter and totally dark for three months a year. Way to go Steve.
You have a day left to look at the lots in our charity auction and place your bids before tomorrow’s 11am deadline. There are some unique prizes in there: original Damien Hirsts, days with our correspondents and columnists – and even a day with us at the i paper and The Independent, where the overnight bidding stands at £510. Good luck.
Thanks for another heaving postbag, this time with questions for the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband. We sent the best to the Labour chief, and his answers will run in tomorrow’s i.
Entries are now open for reader questions for the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10am on Friday, and the DPM will reply to the best in the week before Christmas. It’s your chance to put him on the spot.