Prior to the conference, WikiLeaks released a series of US diplomatic cables detailing the quickening rush to carve up newly accessible Arctic mineral resources. In one cable, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller is quoted as saying (with reference to US failure to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and consequent difficulty establishing claims in the Arctic), "if you stay out, then the rest of us will have more to carve up in the Arctic." Another cable quotes the Russian Ambassador to NATO remarking that "The twenty-first century will see a fight for resources, and Russia should not be defeated in this fight ... NATO has sensed where the wind comes from. It comes from the North."
The Arctic is in a grave state, but the reality is that many national and corporate interests stand to gain considerably from a thawing Arctic. Mineral resources, fisheries, superior shipping lanes--climate change is creating a resource bonanza for extractive and other industries. The irony, of course, is that the region most sensitive to global warming, and therefore most likely to benefit from expeditious geoengineering, is the same region giving rise to some of the most powerful incentives to acquiesce in, or even hasten, climate change.