After the Ice: Life, Death, and Geopolitics in the New Arctic
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New from Smithsonian Books, After the Ice is an eye-opening look at the winners and losers in the high-stakes story of Arctic transformation, from nations to native peoples to animals and the very landscape itself. Author Alun Anderson explores the effects of global warming amid new geopolitical rivalries, combining science, business, politics, and adventure to provide a fascinating narrative portrait of this rapidly changing land of unparalleled global significance.
Council nations.10 I quickly learned that the lack of certainty makes it tougher to overcome the key obstacle to progress: the need for international action.11 “The issue is that you can’t right now say exactly how much cutting black carbon is going to get you in the Arctic,” Pearson told me when I called her in Sweden where she now lives. “We can say that it will help, but of course policy makers want a cost-benefit analysis and we don’t have those kinds of figures right now.” Still, she is
53. CHAPTER FOUR: ADRIFT ON THE ICE 1. Drivenes, Einar-Arne, and Harald Dag Jølle, eds. (2006). Into the Ice: The History of Norway and the Polar Regions. Tromsø: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, page 76. A brilliant book with many unique pictures, this account has the advantage of showing many different expeditions in their historical context so that the continuity between them can be seen. 2. Reported in the Hartford Courant newspaper on February 19, 1897. 3. See note 1 above, pages 82 and 84;
the reduction in its main staple food and shift to other species we don’t know,” says Fortier. And of course, the polar bear is in turn dependent on the ringed seal. The Arctic is seeing a more dramatic change to its environment and ecosystems than any part of the planet has seen for many thousands of years. The Arctic is turning into a new kind of sea; frozen over in winter with a thin layer of new ice which melts way in summer to open water. The seas will be free from the thousands of square
Russia must develop more. The Arctic seas are where Russia is going, lawsuits do not stand in its way, and warnings of risks from environmental groups are not slowing it up.5 My introduction to Russia’s offshore plans came in neighboring Finland, which is totally dependent on Russia for gas supplies. Aker Arctic, a Finnish company that has designed more than half the world’s icebreakers, invited me to Helsinki to their annual “Arctic Passion” seminar. Aker management joked that Russia was
moment I felt angry: this was my very first bear. He explained that she was probably two years old and coming up to her first summer without her mother to protect her. She had not eaten enough in the spring and early summer when there had been plenty of young seals out on the ice. Perhaps she had not been quick enough to learn from her mother how to hunt. Perhaps she had been abandoned too early. Perhaps the ice had vanished too quickly. “She’s walking the beach with a purpose,” he said. “She’s