Across uncharted waters

Even the dumbest Republican president has to admit that we are in the middle of unprecedented global warming – accelerated, if not caused by our soaring carbon dioxide emissions and use of fossil fuels. As if any proof were needed, 2007 has seen one of the most shocking single events yet brought about by global warming: the shrinking of the polar ice cap to such a level that the fabled North West Passage is now navigable. The passage, which can provide a fast route from Europe and the Americas to Asia, was not expected by scientists to be clear of ice before 2040, but a Canadian research vessel has just completed a complete transit. On board was BBC reporter David Shukman, and you can read his blog here.

Not only is the opening of the North West Passage a chilling indicator of just how far global warming has progressed, but it is already causing conflict between nations, with Canada claiming it as part of it’s territorial waters, and Russia and the USA claiming the right to use it. There have been a number of theories that global warming will push developing nations into conflict over water, territory and food, but it seems that the so-called developed nations are not above a little global warming-induced teritorial spat.

Words & polar bear picture © Steve Davey/ 2007

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