Friday, 6 November 2015

Is it all Doom and Gloom?

As many of you are aware, the recent interest in the "Melting North" has seen both positive and negative press. In this blog I'm going to focus on the very controversial positives this issue has seen in recent decades. I don't plan to give a full in-depth analysis on the topic at hand but give you a slight insight into this much debated topic.

As some of us know, putting aside all the humanitarian and wildlife issues which surround this topic, benefits are already being seen from the retreating annual northern sea ice. Not only have governmental bodies highlighted the economic benefits of the melting ice, but scientific authors have also built upon this knowledge in the benefits of the Northwest Passage opening.

We are currently living in a ever more capitalist world, where growth is a focal point for many sovereign states. The opening of the Northwest Passage comes to the joy of these nations due to the reduction in cutting shipping costs, as travel time is nearly halved between Europe and Asia. Having said this, you cannot ignore the fact that the problems this has caused regarding the questionable extent of a nations borders into the Arctic sea, but I will go into further depth on this topic in a blog in the near future.

A company handout photograph shows the oil production platform at the Sakhalin-I field in Russia, partly owned by ONGC Videsh Ltd., Rosneft Oil Co., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Japan's Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co.

With the retreat of the Arctic sea ice extent, it means greater areas of under-sea land are available to access on an annual basis. Global companies such as Exxon have invested billions of US$ into mineral exploration in the increasingly ice free Beaufort Sea. Further more, Shell have invested near on $7 billion in the hunt for oil in the Arctic and Alaskan seas. I think its key to remember that I have only mentioned two companies with an interest in mineral exploration in the Arctic sea and there will be hundreds with a great interest if mineral extraction in the Arctic sea becomes the norm.

Only recently, Obama blocked proposals for further exploitation in the Alaskan coastal Arctic oceans in an attempt to slow the negative impacts of mineral exploitation.

I have only mentioned two positives of the retreating Arctic sea ice but there are a handful of others. Yes there is controversy around them and no I don't necessarily agree that they are both positive to the global community, but this blog just highlights that there are some positives to what is a global crisis in my eyes.


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