“Beast from the East”

Newly open water in the ArcticVladimir Lugai

The April snow falling on fruit blossoms in Europe these days may be directly connected to the loss of the sea ice in the Barents Sea in the Arctic. That was certainly the case in 2018 when the sudden cold spell known as “Beast from the East” descended on the mid-latitudes of the continent…

They are diligently stoking thousands of bonfires on the ground close to their crops, but the French winemakers are fighting a losing battle. An above-average warm spell at the end of March has been followed by days of extreme cold, destroying the vines with losses amounting to 90 percent above average. The image of the struggle may well be the most depressingly beautiful illustration of the complexities and unpredictability of global climate warming. It is also an agricultural disaster from Bordeaux to Champagne.

It is the loss of the Arctic sea-ice due to climate warming that has, somewhat paradoxically, been implicated with severe cold and snowy mid-latitude winters…

“What we’re finding is that sea-ice is effectively a lid on the ocean. And with its long-term reduction across the Arctic, we’re seeing increasing amounts of moisture enter the atmosphere during winter, which directly impacts our weather further south, causing extreme heavy snowfalls. It might seem counter-intuitive, but nature is complex and what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic.” says Dr. Hanna Bailey.

And it gets more complex than that. RTFA, and understand as diverse and divergent from our “common sense” on the ground as many of these events may seem, cause and effect still happens and can be analyzed. Remedies for harmful change is the difficult bit.

Cairn Energy strikes oil in Arctic waters off Greenland

A British oil firm will announce that it has struck oil off Greenland, a find that could trigger a rush to exploit oil reserves in the pristine waters of the Arctic.

Cairn Energy, the first company to win permission to drill for oil in this sensitive environment, will break the news to the London stock market along with its half-yearly financial results…

The news will delight the oil industry, which has long believed the Arctic harbours some of the last huge reserves. It will also delight a Greenland government desperate to diversify its fragile economy away from a dependence on fishing, tourism and cash handouts from Denmark, which still formally has sovereignty over the world’s largest island…

The Arctic find will reinforce the reputation of Cairn in the oil industry. The firm has a strong track record of making discoveries in new frontiers. It made a name for itself by buying assets in Rajasthan, India, from Shell, then going on to make huge discoveries. Cairn has recently hived off this business at a big profit through a separate stock market flotation.

Asked whether he expected good news from Cairn, Mininnguaq Kleist, a senior official in Greenland’s department of foreign affairs, said only: “Yes, I hope so.” The department is choosing its words carefully because the exact scale of the oil find must still be assessed. The well has not been drilled to its true depth yet, and appraisal holes have to be made before the size of any reservoir can be assessed.

It is expensive to operate in deep waters and in such inhospitable terrain, and there would have to be a lot of oil in place to justify building platforms and pipelines. But most analysts believe the Arctic holds billions of new barrels – and the find will set their imaginations racing.

I left out the portion of this article dealing with Greenpeace. Though I’ve been an environmental activist for 40 years, they are not anyone I especially regard as either constructive or willing and able to consider the needs of working people.

After decades of being a colonial property, the last thing the people of Greenland need is a clot of middle-class twits descending upon them with religious preaching and rule-making.