Friday, September 14, 2007

Northwest Passage Ice-Free For First Time

By Cernig

I keep saying it - Republican and Bush administration unwillingness to admit that gobal warming exists has meant the U.S. is behind the curve on matters crucial to national security. Their denial has meant delay in formulating policy, and that delay has made the world and America less safe.

Dramatic evidence of that came from the European Space Agency today. The Northwest Passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans is fully ice-free and navigable for the first time.
The opening of the sea routes are already leading to international disputes.

Canada says it has full rights over those parts of the Northwest Passage that pass though its territory and that it can bar transit there.

But this has been disputed by the US and the European Union.

They argue new route should be an international strait that any vessel can use.
The reality of global warming has been faced by every other nation with a compelling interest in the Arctic - except the U.S.A. While those other nations are building new military bases, new icebreakers and ice-adapted warships the U.S. has fallen behind. While those other nations have been staking out claims to resource-rich areas of seabed and tallying up passage tarrifs from new routes that will make the Panama Canal obsolete for half the year, the U.S. has been sticking it's head in a melting snowbank.

The emerging geopolitical challenges of global warming are very clear. It seems to me that the Democratic frontrunners would want to get behind the advice of military experts in what has got to be a winning issue for them - the marriage of being strong on national security, international free trade and action on climate change. It mystifies me why they haven't made a bigger deal of this. Any clues?

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