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Posted Sat Aug 16 2008: from Globe and Mail (Canada):
As the ice melts, control ebbs in the Arctic
The Northwest Passage may be ice-free this summer, for only the second time in recorded history. The Canadian Arctic is being fundamentally transformed. As the ice diminishes, new actors and interests will arrive. Who is coming? What will they do? What does it mean for Canada? Many people expect international shippers to take advantage of the shorter distances between Europe and Asia to carry goods through an increasingly ice-free Passage. Most shipping experts, however, think that will happen only in the medium term. Before the larger companies commit themselves to Arctic voyages, they will need longer, and much more certain, times of open water. The increased use of the Arctic for other economic activities is much more likely. In particular, the huge oil and gas resources in and around the Northwest Passage may be best brought to market by ship rather than by pipeline.... Our Coast Guard's icebreaking fleet is small and aging; our search-and-rescue capability is based in the south; our navy has a very limited ability to go north; we require industry to provide for their own rescue capability; and we maintain almost no oil-spill response equipment in the North. In short, we are not prepared for any shipping, let alone for large tanker traffic.
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The ApocaDocs say:
Hmm. So an open Northwest Passage isn't all good?

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