Description:Among the circumpolar countries there is a race for control of oil,fish,diamonds and shipping routes,all accelerated by the rapidly melting icecap opening up the Northwest Passage. The stakes couldn't be higher. Some estimate that up to 50% of the earth's remaining reserves of gas and oil are located in the Arctic. Because of global warming,the Northwest Passage may be open to commercial shipping in as little as 15 years. Those who gain control of the Northwest Passage will experience international trade and economic growth similar to the Middle East in the 19th Century,when it was transformed by the opening of the Suez Canal. An ice-free Northwest Passage would create a shipping route between Asia and Europe 5,000 kilometres shorter than the current route through the Panama Canal. No wonder the U.S.,Russia,Denmark,Japan,Norway,Canada and the entire European Union are now vying for a piece of the action.