Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Got paranoia?

Port Petermann Glacier, 2009 and 2011. Photos by  Alan Hubbard and Jason Box / Byrd Polar Research Centre
Here's a scary fantasy from the New York Times, page 1 below the fold, datelined Nuuk--I'm not sure whether they even realize what story they're telling, but the headline makes it pretty clear:

Race Is On as Ice Melt Reveals Arctic Treasures

Not only are the Petroleum Powers aware of the human-driven process of global climate change, they're rejoicing at it. There's more stuff under the glaciers and permafrost and sea ice, not only oil and gas but who knows what rarer minerals, to say nothing of the opened Northwest Passage for shipping us our cell phones and knockoff designer clothes and American flag pins, and they can't wait to get their hands on it. The only fear is, what if China gets there first?
Arctic nations and NATO are building up military capabilities in the region, as a precaution. That has left China with little choice but to garner influence through a strategy that has worked well in Africa and Latin America: investing and joining with local companies and financing good works to earn good will....

But Chinese officials have cast their motives in more generous terms. “China’s activities are for the purposes of regular environmental investigation and investment and have nothing to do with resource plundering and strategic control,” the state-controlled Xinhua news agency wrote this year.

Michael Byers, a professor of politics and law at the University of British Columbia, said the Chinese were unlikely to overstep their rights in a region populated by NATO members. “Despite the concerns I have about Chinese foreign policy in other parts of the world, in the Arctic it is behaving responsibly,” he said. “They just want to make money.” 
 Oh, if that's all...

But suppose they're not only aware of global warming, but aware that they're driving it; suppose they're driving it on purpose! They don't need to worry about their children and grandchildren, you see, who will be living in air-conditioned splendor; when the rest of the world has turned into a half-desert, half-flooded nightmare like the central Indian plain, they'll be in the hill stations and the Vale of Kashmir, or the Kashmir of Vail, living forever off the rent of today's adventures.

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