Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chicago PM Saturday 23 July 2011

Editors, The Wall Street Journal


The Wall Street Journal Friday 22 July OpEd “Time to Take Alaska Out of the Icebox” refers to the Arctic being subject to “increased access from climate change”, now having “melting sea ice and thawing tundra”, and being ”home to... fresh water... increasingly important in a warming world.” These statements are presented without a shred of corroboration or attribution, no different than than saying “the sun rises in the east.”

Such statements are common in current news and commentary, often supported by “mathematical models.” An interesting model here would be projecting the planet's 4.5 billion-year age on to that of an 80-year old human, giving one earth year equivalent to 0.56 seconds of an 80-year-old geezer's lifetime. This would show mankind's first foray to the north pole in 1909 occurring 51 seconds ago. If you took our geezer's blood pressure as 130/70, then took it again 51 seconds later and got 132 of 68. would you start making funeral arrangements?

The article continues citing activities of Russia, Canada, Norway and Iceland to capatilize on the alleged increased relevance of the Arctic, but that “the U.S. has left Alaska in the icebox.”

The article suggests policy initiatives the US might consider if we want to catch up. Oddly enough one of these is “We will also need to revitalize our icebreaker fleet to support Arctic maritime activities.” Arctic ice is melting... and we still need icebreakers?

Arnold H Nelson in Chicago

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