See: Is Nuclear Power Part Of The Climate Solution?, by Gernot Wagner (in WSJ January 8-9, 2022, Review, pC1).
Yes: Climate Change / Global Warming is here again for a while, as it has been in past eons.
Yes: The Industrial Age and the massive increase in Humanity populating this Earth is contributing to Global Warming.
Yes: The only variables we have to modify its effects are our ingenuity and our willingness to modify our life-style.
Yes: Our willingness to modify our life-style is directly controlled by the Costs of those changes to our current life-style!
And Yes: Those massive costs - and the unequal impact of those costs on different populations - will determine our Actions!
Considering the ever-present Risk / Benefit Analysis that accompanies All of our Human Actions, Nuclear Power ( Fission now, Fusion soon) is the Most Cost-Effective of our Choices!
If only banal politics and self-service would get out of the way. Given the increase in disasters developing, people are ready.GS
GLOBAL WARMING: UPDATE, JANUARY, 2017
THE FOLLOWING ARE A NUMBER OF ISSUES DISCUSSED IN ARTICLES IN MY POSSESSION. AS ALWAYS, I RELY ON THE “FAIR USE” DOCTRINE OF COPYRIGHT LAW. AND I MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO AVOID PLAGARIZING ANYONE’S WORK. GS
GLOBAL WARMING, 2016: A PERSONAL SYLLABUS.
(Please see also the Category “The Arctic…” in
The following is developed in part from scores of relevant reports / articles in my possession. GS
Methods of Reasoning: a) Deductive, as applied in Medicine: History, Physical Examination, Laboratory testing, Differential Diagnosis, Impression / Diagnosis. b) Inductive, as often applied by Lawyers: Conclusion, Facts, Law, Precedent.
In this case, my preference (as an M.D., J.D.): Inductive.
1) GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL. ACCEPT IT AND PROCEED…
2) HUMAN ACTIVITY IS CONTRIBUTORY. HOW MUCH IS A FAIR QUESTION.
3) THEREFORE, WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION, TO OURSELVES AND TO OUR CHILDREN, TO CONTROL, MODIFY OR ABANDON CONTRIBUTORY ACTIVITIES – AS IS COMPATIBLE WITH CURRENT HUMAN SURVIVAL, BOTH GLOBAL AND LOCAL. WE HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO COMMIT SUICIDE. FOSSIL FUELS VS, RENEWABLE VS. NUCLEAR (FUSION, FISSION). DEAL WITH MASSIVE FOREST DENUDATION AS A WAY OF LIFE IN LARGE AREAS OF THE WORLD.
4) DEMAND HONESTY IN SCIENCE. AVOID CONFUSION, SLOPPY “SCIENCE”. IDENTIFY SELF-DEALING IN SCIENCE, POLITICS / GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS….
TIME FRAME BEFORE DISASTER: A DECADE OR A CENTURY??
CURRENT EFFECTS: MORE SEVERE WEATHER; SEA LEVEL CHANGES….
A) 97% OF THE WORLD’S CLIMATOLOGISTS AGREE.
B) THE ENIGMA OF ANTARTICA, WHEREIN MORE WATER IS TRAPPED THAN EXISTS IN THE REST OF THE WORLD…ALREADY 70% WATER.
C) THE ACTUALITY OF THE ARCTIC MELT…AND THE EVIDENCE FOR A MASSIVE ACCELLERATION FROM MELTING OF THE PERMAFROST AND RELEASE OF METHANE AND RESULTS OF THAT…
D) EL NINO / LA NINO: MORE SEVERE? MORE FREQUENT?
E) DRAMATIC / DISASTROUS WEATHER WORLDWIDE ALREADY DEVELOPING.
CLIMATE SKEPTICS / DENIERS:
1) “NOT HAPPENING, JUST CYCLICAL”.
2) “BAD FOR BUSINESS” . “BAD FOR THE WORLD’S CURRENT POPULATION”.
3) “THE SCIENCE IS JUST WRONG”.
LIKELY RESULTS OF GLOBAL WARMING:
A) MARKED RISE IN SEA LEVEL WORLD-WIDE, INUNDATING MANY MEGA-CITIES.
B) WINNERS AND LOSERS AMONG POPULATION CENTERS, WITH RESULTING STRIFE / WARS. ONE EXAMPLE: OIL AND OTHER FOSSIL FUEL-BASED ECONOMIES.
C) GLOBAL COMPETITION: COMMERCE, POLITICS, NATIONAL SECURITY. ONE MAJOR CURRENT EXAMPLE: THE ARCTIC CIRCLE, THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE, ALREADY OPENING UP TO COMMERCE, NATURAL RESOURCES, GOVERNANCE, NATIONAL SECURITY COMPETITION. (SEE MANY OTHER OFFERINGS IN THIS SECTION).
D) THEREFORE, AN EXISTENTIAL PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED…AND NOT BY THE “DISSEMBLING MISCREANTS” AMONG US.
THE PLOT THICKENS, AS THE ICE MELTS.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Around the World: Atlantic Warming Melts Antarctic Ice - Yahoo News
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
GS TUTORIAL ON THE ARCTIC…OUR VITAL FRONTIER
· The U.S. is an Arctic nation, a maritime nation. For example, Alaska contains more shoreline than the rest of the U.S. combined.
· The Arctic is of greater importance in the short-and medium term than Space.
· Many other nations are involved and are getting ahead of U.S., to our economic and security detriment. Once again, America is asleep at the switch.
· The Arctic presents an opportunity to extract ourselves from the Middle East, with obvious benefits, as well as to establish greater security, new resources and new industries.
· Meanwhile, the dysfunctional United Nations is seeking in many ways to usurp U.S. sovereignty. One approach is UNCLOS, the “Law of the Sea Treaty”.
· Personal disclaimer: I am a Conservationist rather than a Preservationist. I believe in “adaptive reuse” rather than in preservation for its own sake.
· I will not review the rich History of that region. But it is epic in proportion.
· Some Geography. It is at a latitude where there is 24 hour total presence or absence of sunlight. The Arctic represents 6% of the Earth’s surface: 1/3 land, 1/3 continental shelf, and 1/3 ocean. The area may contain 20% of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas deposits. The largest nations by surface area border the Arctic: Russia, Canada; U.S….. Canada is 18x France. The other bordering nations are Norway, Sweden, Denmark. Many other nations have great interest in the area; eg. China.
· The Arctic is undergoing a marked warming, which has greatly reduced its ice cover. It is a harsh, fragile and eco-rich system that is greatly affected by climate change and by oscillations in the thickness of sea ice. And there are many scientific reports tying these changes to increasingly dangerous weather throughout the world; heat-waves, droughts, floods, hurricanes, frigid cold, etc.
· The Geo-Politics is becoming heated. Russia claims most of the Arctic as its own. It even planted its flag under the sea in the continental shelf. It has several large cities above the Arctic Circle; and it has vastly more ice-breaking capability than the U.S. Canada claims the entire Arctic archipelago as its own. Norway’s Arctic territory encompasses almost ½ of its land mass and is home to 10% of its total population. It is an important world oil producer and an important player. Sweden in 2011 adopted a national strategy for the Arctic and for the Northwest Passage. China, not a bordering nation, has stated that “The Arctic belongs to all the people around the world, as no nation has sovereignty over it…China must plan an indispensable role in Arctic exploration as we have one-fifth of the world’s population.”
· America has vital interests but no strategy. We are coming late to the discussion; and our efforts have to date been half-hearted and stuttering. In addition to all the other interests, our Indigenous People of the region are under increasing pressure, from loss of shore-line and livelihood to increasing tourism – affecting their way of life and their age-old culture. These are Americans whom we should be protecting.HERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR AMERICA TO BREAK OUT OF ITS CURRENT DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN PROBLEMS WITH A PROGRAM THAT SHOULD BE JUST AS IMPORTANT AND JUST AS EMBRACED AS THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE IN THE 1960’S. But, if it is to happen, we citizens must demand it…and finance it…since our “leadership” today is not up to the task without our initiative. PLEASE.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
AND STAY TUNED FOR A TUTORIAL THAT I PRESENTED RECENTLY ON A PUBLIC ACCESS TV SHOW FOR NEW LONDON MARITIME SOCIETY (www.nlmaritimesociety.org). GS
Antarctica and the Arctic: A polar primer for the new great game - Yahoo News
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
IS AN ADDENDUM
TO MY ADVICE FOR THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY AND TO MITT ROMNEY...IF
WANT TO WIN IN NOVEMBER.
(This is in addition to my list posted as a Rapid Response, May 18-24, 2012)
REGARDING CONSERVATION AND "ADAPTIVE REUSE", (vs. reflexive "drill baby, drill" and vs Preservation for preservation's sake), see the article by Thomas L. Friedman entitled "G.(reen)O.P", Sunday Times June 3, 2012, Sunday Review, p13.
REGARDING THE ARCTIC, THE LATEST FRONTIER FOR AMERICA, Secretary of State Clinton is in Norway talking "cooperation" among the several nations with interests and claims in that rich region. "Cooperation"...YES. Law of the Sea Treaty...NO.
AND THAT GOES FOR ALL EFFORTS TO SUBORDINATE AMERICA'S NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY TO ANY OTHER GROUP...ESPECIALLY THE DYSFUNCTIONAL UNITED NATIONS.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I introduce a
new area of deep and continuing interest: THE ARCTIC: THE LATEST
Feverish activity has been taking place in that cold part of the Earth for several years - although not by the United States...always a day late and a dollar short. During that time, I have been complaining to anyone that could have a role to play, notably the US Coast Guard personnel with whom I have been familiar.
Finally has come a fine two day symposium held recently at the Coast Guard Academy and co-sponsored by the Coast Guard. I attended that symposium and also produced two public access TV shows on the subject.
Please check out our first two in a continuing series of informationals on this vital subject. These will be found in a new Category, entitled as above on this web site.
In addition, I invite anyone with factual information on this subject to write to me at 400 Bayonet Street, New London, Ct. 06320. We would all be grateful for your help.
Why should you care?
Hang in here for
about 40 minutes. Then I’ll ask you the same question.
• Latitude where there is 24 hour total presence or absence of sunlight (summer or winter solstice).
• 6% of Earth’s surface area: 1/3 land; 1/3 continental shelf; 1/3 ocean.
• Lowest ice cover since 1970’s.
• May contain 20% world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas deposits.
• Largest nations by surface area: Russia; Canada; China; U.S….CF A.
• Canada is 18x France. France is smaller than Texas.
• Nathaniel Palmer and Antartica. Perry – Shackelford – Ammenson (1906, Northwest Passage, three years…and also Antarctic) – “Nanuck of the North”.
• International Ice Patrol (cf our guest Dr. Murphy)
• Northwest Passage Exploration through the centuries. Prompted by the Ottoman Turk conquest of the Middle East: Columbus, Cabot, Cook…others, including Henry Hudson (Hudson Bay, left there by mutinous crew).
• Our efforts to take Canada, War of 1812.
• Ice and Ice Breakers…1960’s search for oil, with discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay, 1968. The Manhattan (Capt. Rod White – Bow). ETC. Ice Shelf 16 sq. miles, 100-300ft thick. No year-round access. The Nautilus, 1950’s.
• Lack of U.S. facilities in Alaska and in the Arctic. Other nations have cities in the Arctic We have villages. CF A…
THE MELTING ICE SHELF
• Between 1906-1982, 90% of the Ice Shelf lost. ?Gone by 2060?
• Promoting exploration for natural resources, fishing(cf whales – cf book), eco-touring, Great Circle sea passage from Atlantic to Pacific, from Europe to Asia (eg. saving 1 week of travel)….
• Dr. Murphy’s Reports – our recent TV show and his presentation at Founder’s Day - NLMS
• EFFECT ON CLIMATE AND ON SEA LEVELS. (cf. article in The Day, April 11, 2011.
GEOPOLITICS – AND THE NATIONS INVOLVED
• Cf. polar view of Earth.
• Alaska from Russia, 1867. Japanese invasion of Alaska, WW2; the Cold War; North Korea missle launch….
• Russia exploring; Canada and Norway expanding northern bases; Iceland and China; Greenland.
• U.S. considers Arctic Ocean open waters. Canada considers it its territory. Canada and Norway expanding military presence in Arctic Circle.
• U.S. Minimal Ice Breaking capability (cf. the Nome experience). Cf the cost in time involved in building an oceanic ice breaker: an Arctic –type Cutter-Ice Breaker would cost nearlyl $1 Billion. And take 10 years to build. Cf.
• The U.N. Conference Law of the Sea Treaty. U.S. not a signatory: bad or good?
• Coming Conference: LEADERSHIP FOR THE ARCTIC CONFERENCE.
Therefore, U.S. vital interests.
Eliminate reliance on Middle East Oil. Promote oil company interest in drilling.
Promote commerce and economic growth.
But must be done responsibly. CF, NYTimes editorial: “Getting Arctic Drilling Right”…Feb. 26, 2012.
And environmentalists cannot just say “NO”. Not “Preservation”, but Conservation and “Adaptive Reuse.
NEXT WEEK, MY REPORT ON THE CONFERENCE, WITH A GUEST IF POSSIBLE.
Summary of Presentations delivered at
Leadership for the Arctic Conference,
U.S. Coast Guard Academy, April, 12, 13, 2012
This two day international conference included a distinguished and very diverse panel of speakers, including representatives from Canada, Russia and Italy.
The following points will be properly attributed and will be presented in bullet form.
SECTION 1: HISTORY
Adm. Stosz, Commandant of CGA:
• The Arctic has entered a new realm…of real change. There is a clear and present need for the CG to operate in the Arctic. The time is now. We must inform the people and the nation’s leadership of actions needed NOW. For we need responsible governance in the Arctic.
• The changing conditions affect national security, national energy policy and environmental protection challenges.
• Some History was reviewed (see Part 1)
• The US has been an arctic nation since 1867…but much of the public does not realize that. Even beforehand, the CG was involved with whaling activities at Point Barrow.
• We have vital interests…but no strategy; eg natural resources; navigation; tourism; military concerns. We are not signatories to the International Law of the Sea Treaty.
• The CG, the Navy and NOAA are involved…but not coordinated. And many others.
• There is an opportunity for the affected nations to share resources.
• Weather predictions are very difficult there.
• What is the role, if any, of NATO, of the EU?
• What is the role of the non-Arctic States in governance?
• Eco-System Mgmt.
• We should pool our resources in order to reach objectives.
Prof. Shelagh Grant:
• We have a “Polar Imperative”.
• This is when Leadership matters; opportunities seized; opportunities missed.
• Historically, the first 5 million years involved migrations from Siberia th Greenland – Paleo-Eskimos.
• The Vikings (ie. Erik the Red) arrived in 986 AD in Greenland, extablishing 2 settlements with as many as 3,000 Norwegians. They were Christians and survived for 400 years.
• Little is known of the next 3 centuries, except that there was much fishing and competition.
• In 1782, Denmark took control of Greenland. The US explored it but did not lay any claim. (cf. the Greely Expedition of 1884).
• In the 1700’s, Russia under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great did some exploration. Alexander ll sold Alaska to US in 1867, waiting after the Civil War. He did not want England to have it.
• Britain was pushing Canada to expand into the US, leading to boundary disputes, not resolved.
• Meanwhile, other nations were proceeding – not by military might, but by speed of action in response to perceived threats – a lesson for US at this time.
• Regarding Capt. Michael “Roaring Hell Mike” Healy of the US Revenue Cutter Service, 1865…
• In the 1880-1906 period, with the Cutter Bear in the Bering Strait, he worked with the natives, developed good relations, introduced reindeer to Alaska from Siberia as a good food source (which they failed to capitalize on)…and basically demonstrated the importance of studying and dealing with the Native population, an important lesson for today.
• Discussed Leadership in the Arctic, particularly between the US and Canada. Can be multi-national. Don’t have to be out front. Requires political savvy. Regarding Continental defense, Canada and Britain were more attuned than the US, which was long lsolationist. But partnering between FDR and Prime Minister MacKenzie produced a Joint Board of Defense which continues today. In the 1940’s there was also collaboration regarding the Alaska Highway and regarding Air Defense. After the war, Canada wanted the US out…but collaboration continued.
• You can’t just assert sovereignty-and do nothing. You need a presence.
• For example, we need collaboration and cooperation regarding plotting the Continental Shelf, which could allow a country to establish sovereignty beyond the 200 mile limit. For example, regarding the Northwest Passage and its archipelago, Canada claims all of it…and the US claims it as international waters. On this issue: “the US agrees to ask permission, and Canada agrees to say “yes”. ?? not a solution.
• Stewardship in the Arctic is vital. Currently, the US is not a signatory to the UN Convention Law of the Sea Treaty. This prevents the US from making claims.
• Therefore, he stresses cooperation and collaboration and de-emphasizes sovereignty.
SECTION 2: SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH RE. CHANGES IN THE ARCTIC
2007-2008 was the International Polar Year. It produced a surge of interest.
“We need responsible governance for the Arctic”.
• A summary of Arctic environmental changes.
• Since 1961 there has been a strange and marked warming over the Arctic.
• The sea ice had been stable for many centuries; but there has been a marked melting since 2000.
• This has resulted in increased seasonal fluctuations and increasing summer season.
• But in the Bering Sea there has been no trend since 1979. And this winter there was a record maximum ice.
• Thus, winter ice has been stable, while summer ice decreases.
• This has been associated with poorly understood climate changes, especially in the Bering and Chukchi Seas: more and more intense storms, like hurricanes. These storms can affect northern and western Alaska. Storms feed off the water, and more so since the sea ice is melting…reducing the sea ice protection. This is especially true in late summer and fall. Thus the connection between warming, sea ice and storms.
• There has also been an alarming decrease in “multi-year ice”. This is important relative to oil exploration and to sea level areas throughout the frontier.
• There is also a positive feed-back mechanism operating here: the ice shelf reflects the sun’s rays and heat back into the upper atmosphere. As the Arctic Circle warms, it melts part of the ice shelf, with resultant less heat reflection and even more heat resorption.
• The Arctic is a harsh, fragile and eco-rich system that is greatly affected by climate change and by oscillations in the thickness of sea ice. That sea ice is at its maximum in March and at a minimum in September. There has been a 1%/year decline in the sea ice thickness for many years, with a speed-up in recent years. In 1980, ice filled the Arctic Basin, comparable to the entire area east of the Mississippi River and from North to South US. In September, 2007, the ice had decreased to a point where the entire Canadian archipelago was ice – free in the summer.
• Submarine and more recent satellite studies have detected a 49% reduction in the sea ice, from 3 meters to 2 meters. This represents a large decrease in both the extent and the thickness of the sea ice.
• “Mystery of the Massive Melt”.
• This is greatly affecting the indigenous people who have been there for thousands of years and who have evolved means of subsistence living. This is new to them and directly affects them: ability to scratch out a living; coastal erosion; territorial claims; increased tourism and transport….
• The Future holds less ice, increased human activity of many types, more challenges and opportunities, and a great need for leadership.
• Meanwhile, the ice in the Antarctic is increasing: a continent surrounded by an ocean which greatly affects it, whereas the Arctic is a n ocean surrounded by land.
• Mapping the extent and borders of the Continental Shelf allows a nation to extend its territorial claims beyond the 200 mile border (see Article 76 of the Law of the Sea Treaty).
• The Arctic is a deep ocean basin on which the ice islands float. We need to know more about the sea bed to understand how it affects the ice above it. This is done by multi-beam echo soundings.
• “The Arctic is the canary in the mine”.
• US is mapping the Chukchi Plateau and the Barrows Plateau, in part with the Healy Icebreaker. We need more icebreakers.
• The US continental shelf may extend much farther North into the Canadian continental shelf.
• Only 1% of the sea floor has been mapped so far. But there is great resource potential in the sedimentary basins.
• The Russians are doing their own mapping. And they are not sharing data, culturally considering the whole area “theirs”.
Dr. Gantea: Petroleum in the Arctic.
• Evaluating recoverability and deliverability in the environment.
• The three areas of interest are: 1/3 land; 1/3 ocean basin; 1/3 continental shelf. The land has been fully explored. The ocean basin is tough for oil exploration, etc. The continental shelf is the untested frontier.
• With increasing demand, especially from the developing countries, and with decreased opportunity elsewhere, the Arctic is drawing attention.
• Of major attention is the massive natural gas holdings in Russia. Most of the oil is in the North, in the Prudhoe Basin and off the US. Most of that is in the continental shelf, in less than 500 meters of water and involving many problems related to the Arctic conditions.
• The world uses 40 billion barrels of oil per year. The total potential from the Arctic is estimated at 40-160 billion barrels.
• Most of this is off Russia and Greenland, in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas of the US and Canada.
• Cost and Value matters. At $100. per barrel of oil, exploration is feasible. Regarding natural gas, at $15. it is not feasible now.
• Remember: the supply of oil and gas is finite.
Dr. Hunt: The Arctic Marine Eco-System.
• The Coast Guard manages the fisheries in the Bering Sea. Between the climatic changes occurring and their vulnerability to oil, there are a lot of endangered species there.
• The Eastern Bering Sea is the main fishery there, whose importance has been increasing since the 1990’s. The Magnusen Act shifted fishing from foreign to domestic, emphasizing sustainability. Nevertheless, there has been a net decrease in the important Pollock. A sustainable “take” is 30%/year. Why the Pollock fishery has been decreasing is a mystery. But they are sensitive to warm water, as are the Zoo-Plankton essential for the fish. In the last few years, as the Bering Sea became unexplainably colder, the Zoo-Plankton have increased.
• In the North Bering Sea, the freezing point of salt water is lower that that of Pollock. Therefore, we will not see movement of fisheries into the colder areas.
• The Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Seas are quite cold. Thus, there will not be fisheries there, although the supply is enough for subsistence fishing.
• In this changing environment, there will be winners and losers. The winners will be the whales, who can more North. The losers will be ice-dependent polar bears, walruses and seals. But all are susceptible to oil spills.
• The greatest concentration of fisheries is in the Unimak Pass within the Aleution Islands. Thus, the main area is in the lower and mid-Bering Sea.
SECTION 3: MARITIME SAFETY IN THE ARCTIC.
• The receding of ice from the shore of the continental shelf is producing increasing navigational challenges: in Unimac Pass; in Dixon entrance; in the Bering Strait; and throughout the Alutions chain with oil drilling.
• The ice is reduced, but still there and more dynamic.
• In the future, shipping will probably be restricted to Polar Class ships, highly regulated and enforced.
• Economics is the driving force here.
• The is lots of marine activity today, operating without significant regulation.
• This is impacting the indigenous peoples (with over 30 different languages) adversely. Their needs and perspective must be attended to.
• There is an Arctic Marine Shipping Agreement, developed between 2002 and 2009, (AMSA), a consensus among 6 nations, with an Arctic Council.
• Most new players in the Arctic have little Arctic experience, with not many charts and very few soundings. Not a good situation. Remember the sinking of the ship Explorer off Antarctica, together with other groundings.
• The key uncertainties are: Climate, Marine disasters, Conflicts, Governance, Natural Resource development, increasing Tourism and Eco-Protection.
• Only Norway and Russia have some infrastructure to deal with all this.
Mr. Ross MacDonald: The Canadian Perspective.
• Now, 8 Arctic countries are talking about shipping, in a continuing dialogue. There is a Polar Code, preventative and with no international mandatory requirements. Guidelines, not mandates. This has been under development for 20 years.
• Arctic interests may not be the same as those of the Arctic nations.
• There is a Baltic System, a Russian System and a Canadian System…to some degree.
• The Arctic wants to promote Development. The Antarctic wants to Preserve.
• Thus, there has been great difficulty getting agreement on a Code. The commercial don’t want an effective Code.
Ret. Adm. Watson, representing the Off-Shore Oil and Gas Industries.
• We need a national strategy for the Arctic. See BSEE, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement).
• Shell Oil has the greatest involvement, with “unprecedented oversight” in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
• Will we have prescriptive or performance measures?
• Off-Shore is the most difficult…and there is less bio-degradability of spilled oil in cold waters.
• NOA reported that, with regard to National Ocean Policy, we have 26 agencies and 140 laws!
• Regarding Canada, it is and considers itself an Arctic nation – an emotional issue. Canada and US need to cooperate.
Alexander Skaridov: From Russia, without too much love.
• Started collecting data in 1935…still Classified.
• “Warming”? Not in Russia. Brutal conditions. Not much change in navigable waters.
• “Russian boundaries are different. Russian claims are different”. Much pressure from the oil industry to push the boundaries. “Putin says ‘The Arctic is ours’”.
• The Northern Sea Route is “not a route”. To be profitable, we need 50 million tons passage. We now have 3 million tons.
• The Russian population is increasing in the area.
• Russia now has 5 nuclear ice breakers. “We need 10. in addition to 7 conventional ice breakers.
• Regarding the Bering Strait, there is no legal boundary and no agreement. Changing conditions require flexible navigation.
Prof. Treves: The non-Arctic nations.
• The Arctic is a concern of all the maritime nations of the world. The Arctic nations need to inform the others.
• Also, there are many international rules applying to the entire earth: UN Charter; Human Rights; IMO (International Maritime Organization)….
• The Law of the Sea Treaty…cf. This provides for compulsory arbitration or litigation…not favored by some. And even some of the important signatories have injected provisions to avoid compulsory adjudication for themselves! (eg, Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark).
Lloyd Axworthy, Canada.
• There is a great need for cooperation between Canada and US. It is an issue of Politics: public information and Leadership. A grass-roots approach is vital, including over 30 indigenous groups…especially since the Arctic is becoming a hot spot economically.
• For example, the issue of possible invasion of destructive Orca Whales in the vital Beluga whale regions could be devastating to the indigenous people’s subsistence. We need to share resources developed with the indigenous peoples…”or else…”.
• We also need more investment in infrastructure. Russia is investing $10 billion over 10 years, a 100-1 ratio over that of US.
• The Arctic Council is the opportunity at hand. Canada will Chair it for the next two years, with the US chairing it for the two years thereafter. With close cooperation between Canada and US, “the Arctic Council should become the voice of the Arctic to the world”.
• But, as David Balton described, the Arctic Council – established in the mid-1990’s, is charged with environmental protection and sustainable development – BUT NOT WITH SECURITY, and, IT CAN’T ADOPT RULES”. That is at the insistence of the US. That effectly throttles the group.
• But the Nook Ministerial meeting in May, 2011 was attended by high-level representatives, including Hillary Clinton. Thus, things may be changing. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has been leading the diplomatic efforts.
Peter Slaiby: Natural Resources, the Facts.
• Shell Oil Co. is “Arctic-Ready”.
• ¼ of the world’s remaining oil and natural gas resources are in the Arctic.
• ¼ of that is in Alaska, in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Since the 1960’s the Cook Inlet has been predominant.
• In the next 4 years, the world’s energy demands will double.
• In the US, only the deep-water Gulf of Mexico has more than the Arctic.
• “Shell believes in economic justice and sustaining traditional life-styles”. “We are establishing trust with the indigenous peoples”.
• Shell, NOA and the Coast Guard will participate in this summer’s “Arctic Shield” exercises (ref. Adm. Ostebo).