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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

As the Arctic ice cap melts at an alarming rate and the biggest recent headlines are about global warming, it's easy to think that the issue would be moving its way rapidly up the policy priority ladder for governments (notably ours) to slam the brakes on a catastrophe. Just read this week's Time Magazine, and you'll see that what's turning governments' heads toward the North isn't the glaring nightmare of a global climate shift but rather, the almighty dollar.

Chances are, you have already heard the news about the dispute over sovereignty in the North Pole. It is nonetheless difficult to fathom that the commerce and shipping industry and prominent foreign policy officials such as Sen. Joe Biden are - get this - reveling at the melting of the ice. At last the yellow brick road appears: The centuries-awaited Northwest Passage, which would cut shipping times and costs dramatically, is opening up before us. What's more, as the ice melts, resources and more resources lie in abundance, ripe for exploitation. It's a new Arctic gold rush, to be sure.

Meanwhile, droughts intensify, monsoons inundate southern Asia and it's difficult to escape that feeling that the weather hasn't been like this before. By putting global warming on the back burner in favor of yet another economic rush, it's difficult to sit easily with our national priorities. Maybe Washington, D.C., won't wake up until the White House becomes a beachfront villa by the Potomac.

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