Oh the Worries of Our Modern Malthusians! In Washington this week, the Anarctica and Arctic Councils met for the first time. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, used the occasion to discuss the problems that global warming was “causing” in these areas. Among the myriad disasters is the possibility that the region’s energy resources will become available and that an all-year passage around the pole might open. As I recall my history, European explorers spent centuries searching for a Northwest Passage. Given the massive increases in global trade, the efficiencies that this would provide could give our flagging global economy a significant boost – and reduce energy use also. And increasing access to new secure energy reserves (especially given that Norwegian and Alaskan activities have already shown we can extract such resources safely) would do much to address energy security concerns. But to our Modern Malthusians, these are problems!
As I remember geography there were seven continents – North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia/New Zealand, and Anarctica. Since humanity never reached the latter continent, it had no real defenders and, thus, in 1959, the global Antarctic Treaty, transformed it forever into a ward of the United Nations. The treaty suggests the global goals of our Modern Malthusians.There is a total ban on economic activity, even though continental drift over the eons has meant that Anarctica might well have extensive fossil fuel reserves. The treaty forbids almost all economic activities but does authorize residency by “scientists.” This illustrates another bias of the left – “Research good, technology bad!” In her speech however, Hillary went further calling for tourist restrictions (so much for eco-tourism). One begins to understand – to protect the planet, we must wall it off from humanity! An ambitious goal but one that shouldn’t be ignored. Malthusians have now captured one continent – only six to go!