Denying Climate Change -- and Exploiting It (Part II of Climate Change series)
(This article, the second in a three-part series on climate change, first appeared in WhoWhatWhy
For years, climate change skeptics in Congress and energy lobbyists like the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Coal Council (ACC) have been successfully blocking significant action in the US on reducing this country’s emissions of carbon into the air. But as the ice melts up north, some of these same industry skeptics are moving to profit from it.
Certainly the Pentagon knows the earth is getting hotter. Here’s what US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp wrote in the February 2012 issue of Proceedings, the magazine of the US Naval Institute:
“The world may seem to be growing smaller, but its seas are growing bigger—particularly in the great North, where a widening water-highway beckons both with resources and challenges.”
The Admiral, while ignoring issues of causality, continued:
“The Arctic Ocean, in the northern region of the Arctic Circle, is changing from a solid expanse of inaccessible ice fields into a growing navigable sea, attracting increased human activity and unlocking access to vast economic potential and energy resources. In the 35 years since I first saw Kotzebue, Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea as a junior officer, the sea ice has receded from the coast so much that when I returned last year the coastal area was ice-free.”
Recognizing the truth of Admiral Papp’s statement, the Navy is gearing up for an ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer months as soon as 2016—84 years ahead of conventional model projections.
This estimate is the result of an ongoing US Department of Energy-backed research project led by a US Navy scientist at the US Naval Postgraduate School‘s Department of Oceanography, Professor Wieslaw Maslowsky.
Republicans Cool Down Navy Statistics
The Republican House-led Armed Services Committee relied on the Navy’s research, too, but used older data that put the date several years further off. Still, even with outdated estimates, the Committee’s comments on the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) refer to a future ice-free Arctic Ocean that will occur alarmingly soon: