September 16, 2019
 In 2022-Arctic Circle Resource Exploitation

Country: Guatemala
Delegate Name: Shriya Nallan Chakravarthi

Special Political Committee
Arctic Circle Resource Exploitation
The Republic of Guatemala
Shriya Nallan Chakravarthi
Forest Hills Eastern

In 1962, Russia discovers the first major Arctic energy reserve. Six years later marks the first US Arctic oil and gas discovery. Ever since then, more countries have favored extracting the limited resources in the Arctic region. The rising global temperatures melting the polar sea ice only encourage the Arctic council to increase shipping lanes. On the other hand, the world needs roughly 4.04 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and an estimated 96.5 million barrels of oil per day. With the Arctic circle estimated to have 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13% of the world’s oil reserves, exploiting these resources to share between the Arctic States and the Non-Arctic States will be beneficial. Dividing the Arctic Circle territory and its resources between all involved parties is controversial, as indigenous people are living in the Arctic. The United Nation Conventions of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the main legal policy on the Arctic and the seas. However, not all countries are bound to UNCLOS, such as the United States. Thus, the United Nations could enact more policies to protect the Arctic Circle as a whole.

Guatemala has remained fairly neutral on the pertinent situation. Even though Guatemala is a Non-Artic State, Guatemala does not utilize natural gas or oil as much as other countries. Guatemala has many natural reserves of oil and gas, yet both are under-utilized. Out of the approximately 153 oil wells in Guatemala, only 58 are currently utilized for oil production. This ranks Guatemala 82nd in the world for oil consumption. Guatemala does not use natural gas, as their primary sources of energy are petroleum, hydroelectricity, and fuelwood. Even though Guatemala could benefit from the Arctic’s oil reserves, it is neither necessary nor does it outweigh the environmental costs. Guatemala has addressed its global warming situation and maintained the commitment to reduce projected emissions by 11.2% by 2030. Guatemala has ratified and is bound to UNCLOS to protect the Arctic Circle.

The Republic of Guatemala encourages the United Nations to focus on the environmental effects of exploiting the Arctic Circle, as Guatemala is volatile to global warming and sea level rises. Guatemala recommends a sustainable process to mine oil and natural gas. Even if natural gas and oil are vitally important to some countries’ economies, it is important to note the sustainability of where the resources originated and the global impact.

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