Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vikings Liking Warming

So I read today in National Geographic that many folks in Greenland are enthusiastic about global warming. Remember, the Vikings settled the place during a particularly warm period--and vanished when the climate cooled during the Little Ice Age of the 15th century. If the island heats up again and the ice sheet melts in whole or in part, that will enable a longer and more diverse growing season, prompt tourism, and--most importantly--open up frozen seas to offshore drilling. It could be a great boon for Greenland's economy.

Of course, if the Greenland ice sheet melts in its entirety, sea levels worldwide will rise by some 24 feet, inundating coastlines everywhere (including, presumably, Greenland's own). And when you start to equate offshore drilling with economic nirvana, you have to remember the minor detail of the BP oil spill, which has killed the fishing and tourism industries of the affected areas for the foreseeable future, not to mention introducing long-term clean-up and public health costs that will certainly be borne largely by the communities, not by BP. And, oh yeah, there's that pesky problem of destroying the planet we live on.

All of which proves that the people of Greenland, at least those who look to global warming for salvation, are no more or less insane than the rest of us. The Vikings failed when the climate unexpectedly and unpredictably shifted on them. These days, we can see it coming--and still we refuse to believe.

No comments:

Post a Comment