The Copenhagen summit : the climate warming and… its benefits
Climate warming is not a catastrophe for all, especially in the countries of the far north. Russia, Canada, the United States, Norway and Denmark already started to furbish their development strategies and to inform of their claims. The greenhouse effect is warming the planet and dissolves the ices. It is not new. These climate changes in the Arctic have been affecting the north for about 20 years. Who did not see these images of icebergs drifting or polar bears swimming in search of sea ice ? It is a quite disaster in the far north… But not for all. A cartography of the oil, gas and mining wealths Whereas some scientists predict a north pole free of ice in the summer of 2050, even 2030, the Arctic states launch out major objectives of exploration and cartography, supported by men-of-war. In august 2007, two russian bathyscaphes went 4261 down the Arctic sea and planted a flag claiming the Arctic as Russian soil, while in 2009, Canada announced having carried out a complete cartography of the oil, gaz and mining wealths. A wide sovereignty from 200 to 350 nautical miles L’US Geological Survey estimates that the Arctic harbours 13% of the reserves crude oil and 30% of the world’s undiscovered gas reserves. However, most countries concerned ratified in the beginning of the century, the UN convention on maritime law, allowing the countries to extend their sovereignty in th eocean from 200 to 350 nautical miles if they can prove within the ten years that this extension is related to the natural prolongation of the continental shelf. Countries bordering the north pole thus hasten to put forward their claims onto seabeds and these « new » energy and mine wealths du pôle Nord made more accessible as more ice pack and permafrost melt. A mindset similar to the XIXe century one…
Chart of Canada and its exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles (red line) with the possible extension limit to the continental shelf (white line). © Geological Survey Canada
A climatic shortcut Another great advantage of the warming : the release of the ices in the ports usually blocked during winter and the opening of the northwest passage. Without sea ice, the sea traffic can join Asia to Europe faster. While going across this passage, the London-Tokyo distance for example passes from 23 300 km, via Panama Canal, or 21 200 km, via that of Suez, to 15 700 km. Substancial made savings are appreciated with their right value. économies réalisées sont appréciées à leur juste valeur. Softer temperaturesshould also support the vegetable growth and thus, agriculture in the plains of Siberia and Canada. According to a Russian report, the cutivable zones should increase considerably and many varieties of plants, such as the late sunflower should extend towards north because the surface of the ice during wintertime also begun to decrease. We used to think till today that the melting of ice only happened in summer and that it freezed up again each winter. Satellite observations show a fall of 7% of the winter ice since 2003. However the more reduced are the ices during wintertime, less important will be the energy needed to dissolve them. Which means, the ice sea will be also reduced during summertime.