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EU Science

Northeast Passage Becomes Viable Trade Route 363

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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  • OH, Goodie! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:07PM (#37754032)

    Another Global Warming Wankfest

  • by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:37PM (#37754408)

    Yes, it is good. It makes major economies more efficient which is a step towards increasing wealth overall.

    This sounds like what should rightly be termed a "rising tide fallacy". This increasing wealth will be concentrated among a very few who will use it to further pervert markets and politics.

    Which is not to say that flat or decreasing wealth is good or better. Rather, it simply acknowledges that increasing wealth is not necessarily good, under the current circumstances, and that it may be a net "bad". An unfortunate state of affairs.

  • Re:OH, Goodie! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:37PM (#37754410)

    As sea level rise,
    unwise to throw in towel,
    for then you get wet.

  • Re:OH, Goodie! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SteveFoerster ( 136027 ) <steve AT stevefoerster DOT com> on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:41PM (#37754468) Homepage
    I'm honestly unsure what the truth is regarding climate change, there's too much shouting and I just don't have the background for it. But I do know that if you categorically reject any challenge to your position then you're no scientist.
  • Re:How funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coolmoose25 ( 1057210 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:45PM (#37754530)
    Most climate change skeptics are not of the ilk you describe (although there are very famous ones, many who are politicians)... What most climate skeptics dispute is anthropogenic global warming, and most of them ask the next question thoughtfully - what does global warming (anthropogenic or otherwise) mean? The shrillness on both sides of this debate seem to resort to name calling and revel in the erection of straw man arguments such that they can make the other side look crazy.

    For my own part, I don't believe the case for anthropogenic global warming is an open and shut case. I realize there are others who think I'm a lunatic for not being able to come to that conclusion. But the essence of science is thoroughly vetting theories... anthropogenic global warming is a theory whose final chapter is yet to be written.

    As for the "what does global warming mean?" - well that is even less well thought out by both sides. Climate change believers think it's the apocalypse. Climate change deniers think it means nothing. Deniers point to harsh winters like last year and say "Global Warming is hooey"... Believers point to every hurricane and say, "See? I told you so"

    Melting ice caps point to a warming planet. Opening up new shipping lanes is just one positive that is a result of global climate change. There are undoubtedly negatives. What all those positives and negatives are is unknown by all.
  • Re:How funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:47PM (#37754550)

    First, the 'deniers' all denied that anything was happening, that it's all normal variation, etc.

    Now they MUST accept it's happening, but they deny that people could have anything to do with it, and insist that we are powerless to do anything about it.

    Next, look for 'deniers' to accept that humanity is 'a factor' but not the only reason, and expect them to refuse any actions to ameliorate the problem, because they can't completely fix it anyway. (already starting)

    Finally, expect the blamestorm to fall upon climatologists for failing to convince them there was a problem, and the reaction to be 'well, it's too late anyway, why change?'.

    It's ALL a rationalization to deal with fear of change, lack of responsibility, and a failure to imagine any other way of doing business or building technology and agriculture.

  • Re:How funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:48PM (#37754574) Homepage

    That's shortsighted thinking.

    Even in a city, you depend on the environment. It's not just about polar bears. It's also about crops, coastal cities, and illnesses, for instance.

    For instance, if coastal cities start getting flooded in New Orleans style, that's going to be pretty darn important, if only because dealing with the resulting mess is going to cost a lot of money, which will eventually come out of your pocket.

    Also, even if wherever you are benefits, some other places will suffer, which will result in mass migrations to wherever you are. That will also have economical costs.

  • Re:How funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalsolo ( 1175321 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @05:01PM (#37754712) Homepage
    We'll have none of this realistic view on climate change hooey here. Please revert to wild accusations and finger pointing, please.
  • Re:OH, Goodie! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @05:16PM (#37754876)

    Between 10 and 12,000 years ago, well within the time of Man, the seas rose and fell dramatically while the glaciers went back and forth over the Northern Hemisphere. For thousands of years North America and Asia were connected via the Bering Land Bridge.

    Climate change happens, with or without Man's impact, those who reject that climate change happens without blaming man are the true deniers.

  • Re:OH, Goodie! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @05:29PM (#37755030) Journal

    Even if I were to accept this is just normal climate cycles (and basically claim that the overwhelming majority of the climatology community are liars or morons), that would still leave the fact that long-chain hydrocarbons are eventually, and probably not that far in the future, going to be come very expensive, and the whole foundation of our industrial global economy is going to become very shaky. Even if we happily keep barfing CO2 in the atmosphere by burning coal and various methane/natural gas derivatives into the atmosphere, just how do you propose to replace oil in all those non-energy industrial processes in material fabrication. How do you propose to replace the petroleum that ends in plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, and son and so forth?

    Whether AGW is real or not (and I'll accept the opinions of the experts), one thing is sure, at our rate of consumption, we're going to hit one helluva lot of brick walls by the end of this century. Global warming is only one part of it, the other part being cheap long-chain hydrocarbons coming to an end means even if we burn every once of coal and methane we can get our hands on, we're faced with a shortage of epic proportions. To turn these simpler hydrocarbons into the chemically-malleable long chain hydrocarbons will take vast amounts of energy itself, and if we're just using other fossil fuels to do it, how long do you expect it all to last?

    AGW or no AGW, the solutions are the same. To wean ourselves of oil as a principle energy source, to maintain it for what ultimately are far more important uses than sticking it in our goddamned gas tanks.

  • Re:OH, Goodie! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @05:37PM (#37755122)

    Oil Shale says you are wrong.

    Estimates of global deposits range from 2.8 to 3.3 trillion barrels (450×109 to 520×109 m3) of recoverable oil.
    "A 2005 estimate set the total world resources of oil shale at 411 gigatons — enough to yield 2.8 to 3.3 trillion barrels (450×109 to 520×109 m3) of shale oil. This exceeds the world's proven conventional oil reserves, estimated at 1.317 trillion barrels (209.4×109 m3), as of 1 January 2007."

    That puts your end of "long chain hydrocarbons" out to about 2175-2200 at current use levels. []

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev