An Arctic 'cold rush'? Understanding Greenland's (in)dependence question

Page Wilson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade claims that an Arctic 'cold rush' is taking place have intensified. Proponents of the argument contend that the unprecedented effects of climate change plus strong global demand for the region's natural resources are creating the conditions for a future economic boom. In both of these respects, Greenland merits particular attention. Some recent predictions suggest great riches accruing to Greenland, on account of its abundance of oil, gas and mineral deposits; as a consequence, some further argue, Greenlandic independence from Denmark is assured. In response, this article contests these arguments. For now, the natural and mineral resource sector in Greenland is tiny, and thus it is still much too soon to know whether it will even deliver the dazzling economic outcome forecast-let alone whether or not this outcome will benefit Greenland. In addition, the question of Greenlandic independence does not simply boil down to economics, but also raises various social, political, legal and strategic issues which are not easily resolvable. Consequently, Greenland's independence from Denmark is not simply a matter of time, but remains very much an open question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-519
Number of pages8
JournalPolar Record
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017

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