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Economy

Why Big Oil's Thirst For Arctic Exploration Is Bound To Return

By announcing the end of its exploration campaign in the north of Alaska, Shell delighted environmental NGOs. But the self-imposed moratorium, to the degree it even exists, will not last.

Why Big Oil's Thirst For Arctic Exploration Is Bound To Return
Anne Feitz

PARIS — The polar bear lovers have claimed victory. On Sept. 28, Shell announced it was suspending its exploration campaign in the Chukchi Sea, in the north of Alaska, after disappointing results. Many saw in this retreat the signal they'd been waiting and hoping for: oil companies have finally given up on the Arctic's black gold. Greenpeace and other environmental NGOs exulted on social networks.

Their reaction is understandable. But is it also premature? "There is still a lot of oil activity in the Arctic, for instance on land in Alaska and in Russia, or offshore in Norway," says Mikå Mered, the president of the regional consultancy firm Polarisk.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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