Foreign Policy Blogs

The Arctic Heats Up in the News

This brilliant little cartoon by Kevin Kallaugher in this week's number of "The Economist" sums up the "land rush" (or, more accurately, seabed rush) that's on to claim mineral rights at the North Pole. 


See this article from "The Guardian" for good background on what's going on here, and this from Reuters.  Also, there's an excellent multimedia feature available from the "Financial Times."  Go here for their interactive Scramble for the Arctic feature.  (Requires Macromedia Flash Player 7 or higher. Go here to download if you need it.)

Speaking of "The Economist," it's got special coverage on energy alternatives.  It's a very useful collection of articles and other special features on renewables and other energy issues such as storage.  Good stuff.

Meanwhile, of course, the cartoon illustrates another story about the Arctic:  the breaking up of the ice.  It's a startling and scary story, I'm forced to admit.  There's been a lot of excellent coverage, including this comprehensive coverage, with compelling video, from CBS News.   Their science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg spent three weeks aboard a Canadian research ship studying arctic climate change.  (You can also get some of this story through Google Earth at the CBS website.) 

Related to the story of the massive ice melt taking place in the Arctic, and also on Greenland, is the "conveyor belt" in the Atlantic.  More properly called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), this is an ocean circulation system that carries warm upper waters North and returns cold deep waters South.  As reported in "An Inconvenient Truth", the conveyor belt could, given too much thaw, change direction and radically alter the climate of the Northern Hemisphere.  This story, Scientists Track Climate-Driving Atlantic Current, from Reuters, says the dire effects of Arctic ice melting haven't yet effected the conveyor belt, but scientists are building a vast array of monitoring devices to get key readings.  Here's a link to the monitoring project itself.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change