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EU Science

Northeast Passage Becomes Viable Trade Route 363

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the coastal-residents-drowning-but-trade-is-up dept.
Stirling Newberry writes "The New York Times reports on the continued expansion of the sea route along the Russian side of the Arctic Ocean. It was only in 2009 that outside ships were allowed to ply this lane, but Russians have used it since the early 20th century. What makes this year a landmark is that the polar ice cap is smaller at its September minimum than before, allowing large container ships and oil tankers — the backbone of sea commerce — to travel between Europe and Asia, saving time and money over the Suez route, as well as avoiding several politically unstable regions of the world. Putin has been pushing development along the route. While the northwest passage is only gradually opening, the opposite side of the Arctic Ocean looks set for expansion. Siberian Riviera anyone?"
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Northeast Passage Becomes Viable Trade Route

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  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:14PM (#37754134)

    This one was so locked in ice that it could never be used. Now, however, it is viable?

    To quote the summary: "Russians have used it since the early 20th century". Hard to understand how it being used for 100 years to you constitutes as "never", and at the same time as proof of global warming due to it recently opening.

  • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:19PM (#37754168)

    The Russians use nuclear icebreakers. That doesn't really scale for most commercial traffic, and now you don't need them in summer anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:26PM (#37754244)

    Sure, all coastal cities might be gone in fifty years, but who cares; it's lovely spring weather at the pole.

    No, we'll just have *new* coastal cities. Much cleaner and nicer ones that New York, for sure.

  • A non-event (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:40PM (#37754448)

    Actually quoting the register [theregister.co.uk]

    Impressive - if only it were true. The Northeast Passage has been opened for commerce since 1934 - and never 'closed'.

    Over the years hundreds of thousands of freighters have passed through, and after Russia put Soviet-era politics aside it was extended to foreign commerce in the 1990s

    So this is sort of non-story hype.

  • Re:OH, Goodie! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sebastopol (189276) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @05:02PM (#37754720) Homepage

    A mind is a terrible thing to not use.

    Educate yourself, son:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_of_glaciers_since_1850 [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:A non-event (Score:5, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @05:13PM (#37754836) Homepage

    Actually quoting the register [theregister.co.uk]

    Impressive - if only it were true. The Northeast Passage has been opened for commerce since 1934 - and never 'closed'.

    Over the years hundreds of thousands of freighters have passed through, and after Russia put Soviet-era politics aside it was extended to foreign commerce in the 1990s

    So this is sort of non-story hype.

    Not quite. Yes it's hyped (so is everything else). Note that the NE passage has 1) not been historically open all year round 2) often needed support from nuclear powered icebreakers 3) previously restricted to smaller vessels (no large tankers, no super max container ships).

    The fact that all three limitations are likely to go away on a permanent (or at least long term) basis IS a significant change.

    Further, if things continue apace (rapid warming of the Arctic as proposed by every single anthropogenic climate change theory) the NW passage will open for business in the next decade.

  • Re:How funny (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @05:25PM (#37754978)

    In a close and balanced system, a tiny increment can fuck things up over time. Our CO2 spewing energy needs are adding extra CO2 to this system. Over time it will increase the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is ancient science, as is CO2 being associated to it.

    Increasing temperatures means melting ice, which translates to rising sea levels. Coastal cities may be at risk. London has been building tide barriers for decades. They're not doing it for fun, it's called being prepared.

    Increased temperature means increased disease, bugs that spread it, eg malaria, would normally die in colder climates, they are now found in areas they haven't been seen in before, as in up mountainous areas around the world. The mild winters in Europe are seeing issues with poor crops, seeds are coming out too soon, and die when there's a proper winter cold snap).

    You are trolling, of course. Trying the old sitting on the fence stance. The simple question is, how much evidence from the vast majority of experts (you do read valid science journals, and not just blogs?) do you require? Precisely what do you need to accept we're creating a problem for future generations.

    Don't forget the "warming" is the mean over the entire planet. The climatologists predict this will mean bigger swings in winters and summers, not a slightly warmer time for everyone.

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