La Groenlandia come teatro della corsa alle terre rare. Suggestioni secessioniste di un territorio strategico nello scacchiere dell’economia “sostenibile”

Greenland as the stage for the race for rare earth minerals. Secessionist suggestions of a strategic territory in the chessboard of 'sustainable' economy

  • Salvatore Mario Gaias

Abstract

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has highlighted the need for further acceleration towards ecological transition and increased use of renewable energy sources. However, the progressive elimination of dependence on fossil fuels is linked to the exponential growth in demand for so-called rare earth minerals: minerals found underground necessary for the construction and maintenance of machinery aimed at implementing the "green economy." The push towards the acquisition of these minerals by the world's economic superpowers leads to a veritable de-localized (and in some cases de-militarized) war that is having repercussions both in terms of human rights and territorial organization in the strict sense.
In this regard, this contribution aims to analyze the case of Greenland. The Danish legal system has often been described as a hybrid between a unitary and a composite state; there are numerous aspects that bring it closer to a federal system. Among these, the unique case of Greenland stands out, a state within a state that can separate from Denmark at any time through an agreed procedure provided for and determined within the legal system. Among the requirements for agreed secession is the achievement of economic and fiscal independence. Among the matters within the exclusive competence of Greenland, the most important is undoubtedly the extraction of raw materials from underground. The exponential growth of interests in rare earths would allow the island to achieve the long-sought economic independence and initiate the secession procedure. Nevertheless, driven by the Inuit ethnicity, the Greenlandic government has relinquished the extraction of certain materials from an environmental and traditional protection perspective, de facto renouncing independence aspirations for the time being.
This choice, combined with its strategic position as a link between Europe and Asia, makes Greenland one of the privileged battlegrounds of the new Cold War aimed at monopolizing the minerals essential for future energy supply.


Keywords: War; Rare earths; Secession; Energy transition; Greenland.

Published
May 14, 2024
How to Cite
GAIAS, Salvatore Mario. La Groenlandia come teatro della corsa alle terre rare. Suggestioni secessioniste di un territorio strategico nello scacchiere dell’economia “sostenibile”. DPCE Online, [S.l.], v. 63, n. SP1, may 2024. ISSN 2037-6677. Available at: <https://www.dpceonline.it/index.php/dpceonline/article/view/2133>. Date accessed: 17 july 2024. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.57660/dpceonline.2024.2133.
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