Always Look on the Bright Side of Life Dept.: the Melting Arctic

Life imitates Monty Python in Northern Canada, where the Star tells us that residents of Churchill, Manitoba "are hoping that climate change will melt enough ice in Hudson Bay that their small grain port can become a major transportation hub." Currently about the only source of income there is running polar bear tours.

"I know it sounds strange because melting sea ice could drive the polar bears away from here," Mike Spence, the longtime mayor of Churchill, told me [writer Ed Struzik] when we had dinner later that evening. "But a lot of people also think that's going to happen anyway. So they see a year-round port as the salvation that they've been looking for."

Ed Struzik continues describing the riches under the snow in Northern Canada.

The residents of Churchill aren't the only northerners eager to exploit the commercial opportunities that climate change promises. In the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, many in the business community are hoping to begin tapping the trillions of dollars in resources that have so far gone unexploited because there has been no economical way of getting them out.

"Nunavut has at least 10 per cent of Canada's total oil reserves and more than 20 per cent of its natural gas reserves," says Paul Okalik, the premier of Nunavut. "The Geological Survey of Canada estimates that the reserves in the Sverdrup Basin alone are worth over a trillion dollars. That's trillion with a T.

"Up until now, the challenge was to get it to market. But now innovative technologies and perhaps even climate change are making these and other resources more accessible."

Only down at the bottom of this bizarre paean to the glories of climate change does the author suggest that we should be careful what we wish for:

"As enthusiastic as Northern leaders are about the jobs and revenue economic development will bring, there is a down side that none have seriously addressed.

The Bathurst Inlet port, for example, would have ships sailing by Bathurst Inlet Lodge, an Inuit-owned tourism destination that has a worldwide reputation for its pristine beauty. "::The Star

Ed Struzik spent a year in the arctic, producing a series of interesting articles and a slide show of stunning beauty, which these pictures are from. This article seems so out of place.

Tags: Arctic | Canada | Oil