After Helping Cause Climate Change, Big Oil Now Set to Profit From Melting Arctic


Photo credit: USGS

Oil companies have done much to contribute to climate change. Of course, they extract, distribute, and sell a product that, when burned, emits heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But they also have used part of their profits to engage in efforts designed to convince the public that this should cause no alarm. Finally, they devote even more of their resources to back politicians who obstruct climate and clean energy policies that would reduce carbon emissions at large.

Their strategies have appeared to pay off -- now that we've emitted enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to drive significant climate change, the Arctic is increasingly ice-free in the summer. Which means more shipping lanes and drilling opportunities for the oil companies! Here's the New York Times:

whatever the grim environmental repercussions of greenhouse gas, companies in Russia and other countries around the Arctic Ocean are mining that dark cloud's silver lining by finding new opportunities for commerce and trade.

Oil companies might be the most likely beneficiaries, as the receding polar ice cap opens more of the sea floor to exploration. The oil giant Exxon Mobil recently signed a sweeping deal to drill in the Russian sector of the Arctic Ocean ...

This summer, one of the warmest on record in the Arctic, a tanker set a speed record by crossing the Arctic Ocean in six and a half days, carrying a cargo of natural gas condensate.

To recap: Those who have been the primary stewards of climate inaction, those who have contributed most to ensuring that the majority of humankind is impacted by a warmer planet, now stand to profit most from the thaw.

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