EU Warns of Spat Over Melting Arctic

LONDON -- Climate change may provoke conflict between the European Union and Russia as Arctic ice melts, easing access to fossil fuel deposits and opening new sea routes, the EU's top two foreign policy officials said Friday.

Warming temperatures may pose "serious security risks" including increased immigration, less secure water supplies in some countries, and diminishing food and fish stocks, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in an 11-page report.

Russia in August planted a flag on the Arctic seabed at the North Pole, staking a claim to billions of dollars of natural resources that are becoming more accessible as the sea ice retreats due to warmer temperatures. That act illustrates "new strategic interests" in the region, the EU report said. "A further dimension of competition for energy resources lies in potential conflict over resources in polar regions which will become exploitable as a consequence of global warming," the report said.

The two politicians recommended that the EU develop an Arctic policy and push for the United Nations to discuss security risks arising from climate change. They also urged countries to strengthen the Law of the Sea, an accord granting countries bordering the Arctic rights to economic zones within 200 miles of their shores.