“Greenland is now at the heart of 21st century geopolitics” says Greenland PM

Polar Ice Sheets :

Greenland ice sheet melt Each summer, streams channel much of the melted ice along Greenland’s low lying ice sheet. Such melts are on the rise, studies report. Photograph: Courtesy Ian Joughin/AAAS

The Guardian reports, 23rd January 2014: “Climate change, says Aleqa Hammond, Greenland’s Prime Minister, is placing Greenland at the heart of 21st century geopolitics. As the ice retreats, it is moving from being a non-player in global affairs to the centre of a new international resource rush. “Climate change and this resultant new industrialisation brings new risks. We must understand that the effects will be both positive and negative,” she says.

When the world’s miners, oil-workers, construction teams and industrialists descend on Greenland over the next few years to dig below the rapidly retreating icecap for its ores, hydrocarbons and minerals, no one will watch with more concern — or confidence — than prime minister Aleqa Hammond. The Inuit leader of a country with just 56,000 people who have lived in remote, scattered communities largely by fishing and hunting knows that the arrival of tens of thousands of foreign workers will be as economically important and as culturally disruptive as anything in Greenland’s history.

Greenland Premier Aleqa Hammond during Nordic Council summit

Aleqa Hammond says climate change has put Greenland at the ‘heart of 21st century geopolitics.’ Photograph: Johannes Jansson/Norden.org

Chinese, American, Russian, British, Japanese, Korean and other companies have all staked claims for its resources, and her government has awarded more than 120 licenses to explore for oil and gas, iron ore, uranium, emeralds and nickel as well as what are thought to be the largest deposits of rare earths — vital for digital technologies — outside China.

Greenland, which is seeking independence from Denmark, is politically and socially split, with many saying Hammond and her new government are going too fast.

 

Greenland

Source: The Guardian, 23rd January 2014. For the full text see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/23/climate-change-risks-greenland-arctic-icecap

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