Tomorrow, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the national security threats from melting Arctic ice. Greenwire (subscription required), the Online environmental news service, explains the rationale for the hearing:
In a report last year, the European Commission warned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization must be prepared for an intensified “scramble for resources” as melting glaciers and sea ice open up previously inaccessible areas to exploitation. The report explicitly expressed concerns over “long term relations with Russia,” (ClimateWire, April 2, 2008).
Now, opening up “previously inaccessible” areas to oil and gas development could also be a font of economic and national security benefits. One thing we know for sure about Arctic mineral resources–they aren’t owned by Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Venezuela, and never will be controlled by OPEC.
Yes, there will be competition for those resources, but since when is competition an automatic negative for the USA?
Clearly, there are opportunities here as well as risks–opportunities to create thousands of high-paying U.S. jobs, boost GDP by tens to hundreds of billions of dollars, and generate billions in deficit-reducing tax revenues and royalties.
More pertinently, exploitation of previously inaccessible resources could significantly diversify U.S. oil and gas–a longstanding objective of U.S. energy security policy.
But Gorethodoxy demands blind obedience by its votaries. Discussing the potential benefits of global warming is strictly verboten.