Showing posts with label global warming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label global warming. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


To the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts. The region is already buzzing with military activity, and experts believe that will increase significantly in the years ahead. As the number of workers and ships increases in the High North to exploit oil and gas reserves, so will the need for policing, border patrols and — if push comes to shove — military muscle to enforce rival claims.

Last month, Norway wrapped up one of the largest Arctic maneuvers ever — Exercise Cold Response — with 16,300 troops from 14 countries training on the ice for everything from high intensity warfare to terror threats. The U.S., Canada and Denmark held major exercises two months ago, and the military chiefs of the eight main Arctic powers — Canada, the U.S., Russia, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland — gathered at a Canadian military base last week to specifically discuss regional security issues.

Russia — one-third of which lies within the Arctic Circle — has been the most aggressive in establishing itself as the emerging region’s superpower. Rob Huebert, an associate political science professor at the University of Calgary in Canada, said Russia has recovered enough from its economic troubles of the 1990s to significantly rebuild its Arctic military capabilities, which were a key to the overall Cold War strategy of the Soviet Union, and has increased its bomber patrols and submarine activity. He said that has in turn led other Arctic countries — Norway, Denmark and Canada — to resume regional military exercises that they had abandoned or cut back on after the Soviet collapse. Even non-Arctic nations such as France have expressed interest in deploying their militaries to the Arctic. Huebert said. “There are numerous factors now coming together that are mutually reinforcing themselves, causing a buildup of military capabilities in the region. This is only going to increase as time goes on.”

Friday, December 03, 2010

Who owns the North Pole - Part 23

"This is our land," said Delice Calcote, a liaison with the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, an advocacy group representing the region's indigenous peoples. "We aren't happy with everyone trying to claim it."

With one fifth of the world's oil and gas at stake, countries are struggling to control the once-frozen Arctic. With global warming, the search for resources have led to a new battle for northern dominance. As the planet warms, as northern sea lanes become accessible to shippers, as countries and companies hungrily eye vast petroleum and mineral deposits below its melting ice, a quiet, almost polite, scramble for control is transpiring in the Arctic

"Countries are setting the chess pieces on the board. There are tremendous resources at stake," said Rob Huebert, director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary."At this point, everyone is following the rules and say they want cooperation; behind the scenes developments are happening that suggest it may not be so cooperative," Huebert said.

Russia and Canada are the only two Arctic states who have ramped up the rhetoric on the military front. The US, despite its military power, doesn't rattle swords in the same way. The Norwegians are talking the most cooperatively but they are arming very assertively, recently buying at least five combat frigates with advanced AEGIS spying and combat capabilities. The Danes are re-arming too.

"It is our land and our water. They don't own it, it is ours," Calcote said, echoing the view of some indigenous peoples from Greenland, through Canada, Norway, and Siberia.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Who owns the North Pole - Part 10 , and other climate change threats

Been a while that Socialist Courier reported on the competition to exploit the ever warming Arctic regions , the last time being here . Well , just because the problem isn't reported , it doesn't mean it has disappeared . Also raised in the article are the other potential causes of conflicts , like for instance possible "water wars" and other competition for resources

European Union leaders will receive a stark warning next week of potential conflict with Russia over energy resources at the North Pole as global warning melts the ice cap and aggravates international security threats. A report by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the executive European Commission describes climate change as "a threat multiplier" that will exacerbate many existing tensions and heighten instability.

"A further dimension of competition for energy resources lies in potential conflict over resources in Polar regions which will become exploitable as a consequence of global warming," the eight-page report obtained by Reuters said.

The report said the EU needed to address the growing debate over Arctic territorial claims and access to new trade routes that challenge its ability to secure its trade and resource interests and may put pressure on relations with "key partners." It suggested the 27-nation bloc develop a specific Arctic policy "based on the evolving geo-strategy of the Arctic region, taking into account ... access to resources and the opening of new trade routes."

The study suggested the EU should do more to focus international attention on security risks related to climate change using the U.N. Security Council, the Group of Eight major industrialized powers and specialist U.N. bodies.

It cited a host of regional examples of the increased prospect of conflict caused by the reduction of arable land, water shortages, dwindling food and fish stocks, increased flooding and prolonged droughts which were already occurring.The east coasts of China and India, as well as the Caribbean region and Central America, face particularly severe economic damage from sea-level rise and increasing natural disasters, the report said.Loss of territory as coastlines recede and large areas are submerged would magnify disputes over land and maritime borders. "Europe must expect substantially increased migratory pressure," the report said, as millions of "environmental migrants" flee poverty, poor health and unemployment, risking increased conflicts in transit and destination areas.

Solana and EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said climate change could increase instability in failed or failing states, stoking tensions between ethnic and religious groups and political radicalization.Existing tensions over access to water in the Middle East were almost certain to intensify, "leading to further political instability with detrimental implications for Europe's energy security and other interests," the report said. It also saw additional potential for conflict in central Asia from an increasing shortage of water, vital for both agriculture and power generation, with an impact on EU strategic and economic interests.

War is indeed the natural condition of capitalism .

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Global Warming and Capitalism

We are not at all surprised . We have been saying it all along .

The Independent On Sunday carries an article on a report that global warming ranks far down the concerns of the world's biggest companies . Nearly nine in 10 of them do not rate it as a priority . The report's publishers believe that big business will concentrate even less on climate change as the world economy deteriorates.Nearly twice as many see climate change as imposing costs on their business as those who believe it presents an opportunity to make money.

The survey found that only 5 per cent of the companies questioned – and not one in China – regarded global warming as their top priority. And only 11 per cent put it in second or third place. Overall it ranked eighth in business leaders' concerns, below increasing sales, reducing costs, developing new products and services, competing for talented staff, securing growth in emerging markets, innovation and technology. Although most are taking limited action to reduce their own emissions, almost one in five had done nothing.

What we of the world socialist movement said was "We can only 'cure the planet' by establishing a society without private productive property or profit where humans will be freed from the uncontrollable economic laws of the pursuit of profit and the accumulation of capital."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Who owns the North Pole part 3

We warned here and here that due to the global warming and the increased accessibility of the Arctic Ocean and thus to the natural resources in the region that a new rivalry for sovereignty has begun in the Arctic .

Canada has announced plans for six naval patrol vessels and deep-water port in the north to assert its claim to territorial waters in the Arctic , all at a cost of $3bn (£1.5bn) .

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the time has come to re-assert Canada's claim to the north to remind other countries - including the US - of Canada's claim to the waters off its northern coast.

The claim could also have serious economic implications. Natural resources including oil, gas and diamonds are thought to lurk - perhaps in abundance - under the Arctic ice. And then there is the North-West Passage - the northern shipping route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that European explorers sought for centuries. With a warming climate, the route may just become viable and lucrative.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Scotland's Weather Forecast for Tomorrow ?

While doing the previous blog posting Socialist Courier came across research describing the possible local effects of climate change upon Scotland , a report by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency .

The weather will become more erratic and therefore less predictable, with a greater likelihood of extreme events.

More frequent and severe river flooding, affecting 77,000 properties
Increased likelihood of summer droughts leading to river water quality problems and disruption of water supply
Periods of reduced river flow providing less dilution for discharges with increased sewage treatment costs
Increased treatment costs to provide water supplies
Increased run-off impacting on bathing water quality
Enhanced plant/algal growth due to increased temperature
Increase run-off increasing nutrient loading in water
Changes in abundance and distribution of species and length of growing season
Higher temperatures less favourable for native species
High intensity rainfall causing destruction to river habitat
Increased erosion and siltation with consequences for fish spawning
Disruption to food chain with potential catastrophic loss of species (e.g. island breeding sea bird populations)
More frequent and coastal flooding affecting 93,000 properties
Higher sea level, increased wave height leading to coastal erosion and loss of habitat
Loss of traditional commercial fishery
Drying out of soils combined with higher intensity storm events causing landslides, with potential disruption of transport links
Accelerated decomposition of peaty soils resulting in increased emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, fuelling further climate change
Increased soil loss through water and wind erosion
Changes to agricultural practice and crops
Increased flood-related stress, illness and economic costs
Increased respiratory illness and heat-related distress
Local and regional ozone air quality goals probably more difficult to achieve in the future
An increase in summertime photochemical smog, linked to increasing temperatures and small reductions in cloud cover

The future indeed looks bleak . Left unchecked, climate change will accelerate with significant consequences for Scotland’s environment and society. It is time for a real change of the political climate . Scotland and the world needs Socialism .

Its going to get hotter

Global warming may reduce the number of people who will die from the cold each winter , In the UK for instance, there are 20,000 cold-related deaths but researchers in America claim that this will be off - set by an increase of deaths resulting fro heat-waves ( at present, about 1000 deaths a year are related to heat in the UK ).

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health looked at the deaths of more than 6.5 million people in 50 US cities between 1989 and 2000. They found that during two-day cold snaps there was a 1.59% increase in deaths because of the extreme temperatures, but during similar periods of extremely hot weather death rates rose by 5.74%.

The 2003 European-wide heat wave and its associated fatalities ( nearly 15,000 deaths in France ) , can be expected to repeat itself .

Not just deaths but economic effects such as reduced crop harvests , too , Wheat had an overall short-fall of 10% .

Professor Bill Keatinge of Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry in London said about the report :-

"In the long term we may have to make some lifestyle changes - working at different times for instance, but nothing that is not manageable."

Socialist Courier believes that the change which is necessary is one of social systems , a change from Capitalism to Socialism , not simply a switch to siestas in the mid-day sun .

Elsewhere on the BBC website we read a study was produced by more than 200 experts from 25 countries predict tens of millions of people could be driven from their homes by encroaching deserts, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia ( this supports earlier research ) . 50 million people could be displaced within the next 10 years. Desertification is an environmental crisis of global proportions, and one third of the Earth's population are potential victims of its effect. Over-exploitation of land and unsustainable irrigation practices are making matters worse. Climate change was also a major factor degrading the soil.

Zafar Adeel, the lead author of the report, said: "...we need to provide alternative livelihoods - not the traditional cropping based on irrigation, cattle farming, etcetera - but rather introduce more innovative livelihoods which don't put pressure on the natural resources. Things like ecotourism or using solar energy to create other activities."

In a sane , rational , logical society indeed that is what would probably happen , but we live in a market -dominated , profit-motivated world where such decisions are made by partisan politicians at the beck and call of businessmen and accountants and not by sober-minded scientists and other experts .

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 2

Further to this earlier blog on the newly discovered economic and strategic potential of a warmer Arctic region , Russian geologists now say they have data that would support a claim to about 1.2m sq km (463,000 sq miles) of energy-rich territory in the Arctic .
The Russian team, from the Oceanology Research Institute in St Petersburg, estimates that the Lomonosov ridge area in the Arctic contains oil and gas reserves of up to 10 billion tonnes. The geologists spent 45 days studying the Lomonosov underwater ridge.

The Law of the Sea Convention allows states an economic zone of 200 nautical miles, which can sometimes be expanded. To extend the zone, a state has to prove that the structure of the continental shelf is similar to the geological structure within its territory.

Needless to say , when it comes to a scramble for the natural wealth and riches of the world there are rarely no competitors and in this case Denmark are laying their claim to sovereignty to parts of the region also . Science Minister Helge Sander said that success would give Denmark access to "new resources such as oil and natural gas".

"First, we have to make the scientific claim. After that, there will be a political process with the other countries," science ministry official Thorkild Meedom said.

In the past , such political process between capitalist nations over raw materials has included war and invasion . It is not beyond the bounds of reason to expect a militarisation of the Arctic Circle and possible armed conflict as competing nations vie for control .

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Who owns the North Pole ?

An article about one of the lesser discussed effects of the global warming .

It could open the North Pole region to easy navigation for five months a year, according to the latest Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, an intergovernmental group. That could cut sailing time from Germany to Alaska by 60 percent, going through Russia's Arctic instead of the Panama Canal.

Or the Northwest Passage could open through the channels of Canada's Arctic islands and shorten the voyage from Europe to the Far East.

And provide easier routes to Arctic areas that the U.S.Geological Survey estimates holds as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas and Russia reportedly claims its slice of the Arctic sector possesses a potential in minerals approaching $2 trillion.

And the geo-political effect - a scramble for sovereignty over these suddenly priceless seas.

" We all realize that because of global warming it will suddenly be an area that will become more accessible" said Peter Taksoe-Jensen, head of the Danish Foreign Ministry's legal department.
Norway and Russia have issues in the Barents Sea; the U.S. and Russia in Beaufort Sea; the U.S. and Canada over rights to the Northwest Passage; and even Alaska and Canada's Yukon province over their offshore boundary. Canada, Russia and Denmark are seeking to claim waters all the way up to the North Pole, saying the seabed is part of their continental shelf under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Norway wants to extend its claims on the same basis, although not all the way to the pole.

Canada and Denmark have both staked their claim to Hans Island , half-square-mile of barren uninhabited rock, just one-seventh the size of New York's Central Park, wedged between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Danish-ruled Greenland , at the entrance to the Northwest Passage , with flags and warships.

Canada says the Northwest Passage is its territory, a claim the United States hotly disputes, insisting the waters are neutral. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged to put military icebreakers in the frigid waters "to assert our sovereignty and take action to protect our territorial integrity."

Russia contests Norway's claims to fish-rich waters around the Arctic Svalbard Islands, and has even sent warships there to underscore its discontent with the Norwegian Coast Guard boarding Russian trawlers there. "Even though they say it is about fish, it is really about oil,"

In 2004, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the sovereignty issue "a serious, competitive battle" that "will unfold more and more fiercely."
Capitalism - cut-throat competition