‘Melting Arctic – doom for poor boom for emitters’

Arctic ice being lowest since 1979 spells doom for climate conservationists but give new economic avenues for the developed world.

Scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in United States released preliminary figures on Thursday suggesting that Arctic sea ice has reached its lowest level since the records began in 1979.

The data indicated that on September 16th Arctic ice extent covered 3.41 m km2 – a drop of at least 45% since records began and was even less than the last lowest in 2007, considered one of the warmest years in the last century.

Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo termed it as a Polar crisis and said “The announcement represents a defining moment in human history. In just over 30 years we have altered the way our planet looks from space, and soon the North Pole may be completely ice free in summer.”

In the same vein, he added that rather than dealing with the root cause of climate change the current response from the global leaders is to watch the ice melt and then divide up the spoils.

Rich natural resources below the Arctic ice would drive global economies in the latter part of this century when natural resources of most big economies like India and China will dry.

The gain would be of the world’s biggest emitters United States, Russia, and Europe, who caused global warming and poor in Africa and Asia (read India) will suffer.

Powerful economies such as United States, Russia and developed eastern European countries have plans to exploit abundant supplies of oil, gas and minerals in once considered wasteland of the Arctic and China is using its diplomatic power to have some share in the cake.

“The Arctic has risen rapidly on China’s foreign policy agenda in the past two years,” the New York Times quoted Linda Jakobson, East Asia program director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia. China has also developed technology to extract rare minerals and other natural resources below the ice-sheets in a bid to remain competitive in the global economic market.

India, as usual, is missing from action. Unlike China, Korea or Japan, the Indian government does not have a proactive policy on North Pole and has even not sought observer status in Arctic Council, like China.

Neither India has been able to develop technological capabilities to exploit deep sea natural treasures even though the government has now decided to allocate some funds for the same. Knowing the pace with which the Indian system works, the Arctic pie will be consumed by the time we develop the technologies.

Melting of Arctic ice shows the pace at which the world is warming and in indicative of tough times ahead. The North Pole is considered world’s cooling towers through circulation of sea water from warmer tropical region. Its melting will mean warmer seas in countries such as India, a death knell for your unique marine life with implications for our economic growth.

Climatologists from across the world have urged the rich countries to fight global warming by reducing emissions not only to save the Arctic but also our future generations. But, the same nations, read US and Europe, is set to gain from the global change, a probable reason for their inaction.

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