Pompeo on Arctic Ice: Seeing the Plus Side of Catastrophe

May 6, 2019


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared at the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Finland to discuss the United States’ commitment to the Arctic region. While much of the secretary’s speech addressed the growing threats of Russia and China in the region, he also called the Arctic’s melting ice caps “new opportunities for trade”—despite warnings from scientists that the shrinkage is caused by climate change and could become irreversible.

“Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade,” Pompeo told the room. “This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days. Arctic sea lanes could come before—could come [sic] the 21s century Suez and Panama Canals.”

Last week, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) released its monthly sea ice update which found “daily ice extent remained at record low levels throughout the month.” Over the past three decades, the Arctic has lost 95 percent of its oldest ice to global warming—more ice loss could result in ice-free summers, causing the planet to warm even further.

“The steep decrease in Arctic sea ice is one of the more dramatic consequences of human-caused climate change,” Michael Mann, a climate scientist and the director of Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center, told Observer. “And it comes with huge national security challenges as we are forced to defend a new coastline. So there are really multiple levels of unintended irony to Pompeo’s statements.”

Last week, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration sought to remove references to climate change from the Arctic Council’s declaration signed by all eight Arctic nations. When asked by ABC on Sunday how he would rank climate change on a list of national security threats, Pompeo said the issue did not qualify.

“And its centerpiece, the Arctic Ocean, is rapidly taking on new strategic significance,” continued the secretary. “Offshore resources, which are helping the respective coastal states, are the subject of renewed competition.”

9 Responses to “Pompeo on Arctic Ice: Seeing the Plus Side of Catastrophe”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Anybody here surprised this bastard thinks this way? Anybody?

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        Even the DH’s good news of ship transport is suspect.
        In the early 1980’s a empty tanker was escorted thru the northwest passage as a feasibility test. Reported conclusion was that it was too dangerous due to giant Pingo’s reaching surface ward.
        Pingo : Ice core in arctic ground, normally to surface. These sea ones formed ice spires in the sea rising close to ship sinking height.

  2. Some people always look to the bright side of life.

  3. Barbara McKenzie Says:

    I love those cartoons. “Just imagine, if we had only paid out a few more trillion to the carbon scammers, we could have had a totalitarian one world government by the megalomaniacs.” You can relax folks, we’ve paid enough and it’s now unstoppable.

  4. we aren’t changing the climate as significantly as some think, but we are however destroying ecosystems. The recent UN report on nature and species decline is startling, but also sadly not surprising.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      “we aren’t changing the climate as significantly as some think”

      WHAT? Care to expand on that?

      “,,,startling, but also not surprising”

      And that as well?

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