Oh the irony. On the one hand there is the well propagandized denial of global warming, which is so effective in some countries (the United States chief among several) that politicians of all (yellow) stripes dare not mention its name. On the other hand there is this:
Secret US embassy cables released by Wikileaks show nations are racing to “carve up” Arctic resources – oil, gas and even rubies – as the ice retreats. They suggest that Arctic states, including the US and Russia, are all pushing to stake a claim. The opportunity to exploit resources has come because of a dramatic fall in the amount of ice in the Arctic. The US Geological Survey estimates oil reserves off Greenland are as big as those in the North Sea.
The cables were released by the Wikileaks whistleblower website as foreign ministers from the eight Arctic Council member states – Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland – met in Nuuk, Greenland on Thursday to sign a treaty on international search-and-rescue in the Arctic and discuss the region’s future challenges.
[Source: BBC Newsnight]
The Arctic Council, a talkathon operation for most of its history, suddenly becomes the center of attention as eight nations scramble in what might be called unseemly fashion to place dibs on the treasures being revealed as the arctic icepack disappears as a result of global warming.
Now who you gonna believe, the warming climate deniers or the governments and corporations racing to plant flags and claims all over the arctic?
Actually the arctic divvy has been going on for more than a decade. Norway and Russia went at it as early as the 1990’s, each trying to place claims on the Bering Sea seabed all the way to the North Pole. Each year, as the arctic icepack grew smaller in the summer and did not regain size during the winter, it has become obvious that ice-bound territory in northern Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia was soon (if not already) going to be free of ice in the summer. That means, among many other things, for the first time a true “Northwest Passage” from the Atlantic to the Pacific will become possible. Shipping goods via that route between China, Japan, Korea and Europe will be a big savings.
Of more influence, however, is the uncovering of territory for mineral and hydrocarbon (oil, natural gas) extraction. That’s what really greases the sleds into the arctic. It’s being called The Arctic Oil Rush. With estimates that oil on or near Greenland to be at least as plentiful as it was in the North Sea, plus an enormous amount of new ice-free territory to explore, it’s no wonder that energy companies are already sending rigs into the area.
Greenland will be one of the golden countries in this new ice-free land. Currently it is a semi-autonomous dependency of Denmark, but that is changing fast as money and influence are pushing for full independence. A free Greenland also means a country free of the entanglements with Europe and especially the environmental concerns that are quite prevalent in Denmark.
What about environmental concerns? Oh. This is ironic. As the arctic icepack disappears, the levels of the oceans rise. Estimates now range around 3 feet (1 meter) from a full melt of the arctic ice, even more if a serious loss of the Greenland icecap takes place. It was originally thought the arctic melting would happen throughout the 21st century, in the worst case that nothing was done to halt global warming. At the moment, the data indicate the melting may occur within the next decade or two.
So, on the one hand there are governments and corporations spending large sums of money to position themselves for a resource grab as the ice goes out, and on the other hand there are people who deny global warming is happening. On the one hand, there are many energy companies that will ‘strike it rich’ in the arctic warming, while on the other hand the pollution caused by the burning of the hydrocarbons extracted from the arctic will accelerate the warming. See what I mean by ironic?