Physorg.com, via AFP: Around a quarter of the world's oil reserves are locked up below the
This tempting treasure was previously way out of reach, for the ice that swathed the ocean's surface made prospection, drilling, pumping and storage technically impossible or astronomically costly. Now, though, the icy shield is shrinking fast as atmospheric temperatures, stoked by the greenhouse effect, steadily rise.
Added to the hydrocarbon allure is the prospect of a new Northwest Passage along the roof of the world that would be open year-round to shipping, providing a lucrative short-cut between Asia and
The Earth's far south,
…By 2040, "only a small amount of perennial sea ice" will remain along the northern coasts of Greenland and
"The polar regions are increasingly recognised as being... geopolitically and economically important (and) extremely vulnerable to current and projected climate change," the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in April.