Politico struggling valiantly to see the bad side of longer growing seasons, more abundant crops and a vast wealth of newly accessible resources.
How Russia and China are preparing to exploit a warming planet
POLITICO’s latest Global Translations podcast explores how climate change is reshaping power dynamics among America’s adversaries.
By LUIZA CH. SAVAGE
08/29/2019 05:11 AM EDT
Hurricanes, floods, and wildfires aside, climate change is delivering another threat: a remaking of geopolitics that stands to empower some of America’s adversaries and rivals.
As Arctic ice melts, Russia stands to gain access to oil and gas fields historically locked beneath northern ice — and is building up capability to launch cruise missiles from newly navigable waters to threaten America’s coastlines.
As polar seaways open up, China is eyeing a new “Polar Silk Road” — shorter shipping routes that could cut weeks off of shipping times from Asia to Europe.
And as drought drives more farmers and herders off their lands, extremist groups in Africa and the Middle East are finding fresh recruits.
A global quest for resources is already underway in the Arctic, said Goodman, now a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center Polar Institute. “There are thought to be vast stores of fossil fuels, oil and gas and minerals across the Arctic that have not yet been tapped. Russia is doing so today across its vast Arctic coastline with the help of China,” she said.
Russia is vying for control of Arctic seaways and has built some 40 icebreakers — ships that can channel through ice. “Russia envisions under Putin a northern sea route that is essentially a toll road that requires Russian Arctic escorts in the form of icebreakers or other patrol boats, escorting not only the Chinese but others who want to ship across the Arctic,” she said. By contrast, the U.S. has only two icebreakers, she said.
Meanwhile, China, which is not a polar country, has launched aggressive Arctic diplomacy and gained non-voting observer status for itself at the Arctic Council, the international forum that addresses policy in the Arctic. Last year, China issued its first arctic policy.
…Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/29/russia-china-climate-change-1691698
The Politico article goes on to rehash old CO2 bogeymen like “reduced nutrition” in faster growing CO2 enhanced crops (tell that to all the greenhouse growers who use enhanced CO2 right now).
But the question which really struck me when reading the Politico article – why isn’t the USA in this picture?
By my rough estimate Russia has around 40 icebreakers, around 13 which are nuclear powered.
The USA has around three icebreakers in service or about to go into service.
With this level of Arctic commitment, the USA might as well erect a big sign in Chinese and Russian which says “all yours, help yourselves”. Any reasonable reading of the situation would be that the USA doesn’t care about what happens in the Arctic.
A share of all this treasure is there for the taking; all USA has to do is demonstrate they take the Arctic seriously.
Correction: (h/t Bear) replaced “shorter growing seasons” with “longer growing seasons” in the first paragraph.