Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Consider this fair warning

Global Warming's Silver Lining? Northern Countries Will Thrive and Grow, Researcher Predicts
Move over Sunbelt. The New North is coming through, a UCLA geographer predicts in a new book.

Science Daily: As worldwide population increases by 40 percent over the next 40 years, sparsely populated Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and the northern United States will become formidable economic powers and migration magnet, Laurence C. Smith writes in The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future...

While wreaking havoc on the environment, global warming will liberate a treasure trove of oil, gas, water and other natural resources previously locked in the frozen north, enriching residents and attracting newcomers... And these resources will pour from northern rim countries -- or NORCs, as Smith calls them -- precisely at a time when natural resources else where are becoming critically depleted, making them all the more valuable...
  • New shipping lanes will open during the summer in the Arctic, allowing Europe to realize its 500-year-old dream of direct trade between the Atlantic and the Far East, and resulting in new access to and economic development in the north.
  • Oil resources in Canada will be second only to those in Saudi Arabia, and the country's population will swell by more than 30 percent, a growth rate rivaling India's and six times faster than China's.
  • NORCs will be among the few places on Earth where crop production will likely increase due to climate change.
  • NORCs collectively will constitute the fourth largest economy in the world, behind the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the European Union and the United States.
  • NORCs will become the envy of the world for their reserves of fresh water, which may be sold and transported to other regions....
'In many ways, the stresses that will be very apparent in other parts of the world by 2050 -- like coastal inundation, water scarcity, heat waves and violent cities -- will be easing or unapparent in northern places,' Smith said. 'The cities that are rising in these NORC countries are amazingly globalized, livable and peaceful... Many northern places that are now marginal or not really thought much about will emerge as very nice place to be.'...

Although they will be facing severe threats to their traditional culture, northern indigenous communities can be expected to share in the wealth... 'Northern aboriginal people don't like being portrayed as hapless victims of climate change,' Smith said. 'They want the power and resource revenues to save themselves, and at least in North America, it looks like they'll have it... Humanity will increasingly look north in response to the four global pressures of rising population, resource demand, globalization and climate change.'
Image: Arctic summer shipping lines; source here.