Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Artic Meltdown

By Renee Sams

The scramble for the spoils of global warming has already begun with the oil giants bidding record prices for large areas of oil-bearing land and off-shore in Arctic ready for the bonanza. Canada and Russia with thousands of miles of Arctic coastline and already lining up to make sure of they get a share of the spoils
Earlier this year Royal Dutch Shell broke records with their bidding for a lease in the Chukchi Sea and the other mega-corporations are not far behind to grab a piece of the action.
Shell made bids exceeding $100 million for rights to drill a single 3-mile by 3-mile northwest Alaska for oil and gas drilling.
The Chukchi Sea is home roughly one-tenth of the world’s endangered polar bears as well as walruses and whales. Alaska’s North Slope is also home to a number of indigenous villagers who rely on the sea doe cultural and nutritional subsistence.
To make sure that the US gets all that it wants the coastguard cutter is on its way to map the floor of the Chukchi Gas as part of America’s continental shelf and their right to any oil that is found.
Fuelling the drive to the Arctic is the US Geological Survey which revealed that the area north of the Barents Sea may hold as much 90 billion barrels of oil and about 1669 trillion cubic feet of gas.
This is about 13 per cent of the world’s total reserves of oil and 30% of the total undiscovered total of gas.
America’s Arctic is on the front line of global warming. The Arctic regions are warming at a rate that is about twice as fast as the rest of the world, and climate change poses a danger to the fragile environment. For the first time in human history the North Pole can be circumnavigate.
Rising temperatures are already a threat to the remaining polar bear population which needs the ice to hunt for the seals it needs for food, the walrus, seal and penguin populations are all now in an extremely vulnerable position. .
In the Pacific there are hundreds of small islands with land that is a mere metre or two above sea level people and preparing plans to evacuate their homes before they are swept away by the rising tides. A move born of desperation.
President Remengesau of Palau, a small island in the Pacific warned: “Palau has lost at least one third of its coral reefs due to climate change related weather patterns. We also lost most of our agricultural production due to drought and extreme high
“These are not theoretical, scientific losses – they are the losses of our resources and our livelihoods…For island states, time is not running out, it has run out. And our path may very well be the window to your own future and the future of our planet.”