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THE RAPE OF THE ARCTIC: Is Global Warming Being Used to Open the Arctic to Exploitation?
By Cheryl Seal
Everyone knows that the fossil fuel barons - i.e., the purveyors of oil, natural gas, and coal - have vehemently fought against the Kyoto Protocol and any other significant measures that might slow global warming. ExxonMobil and Western Fuel Association have funneled millions of dollars into phony "science" material and "expert testimony" to debunk global warming, often using reprehensibly stealthy methods. Bush's "secret energy task force" was stacked with oil and coal barons - but no representatives from the alternative fuel community. Since taking office, Bush has granted nearly every global-warming-fueling wish the fossil fuel barons could ever have desired: lavishing billions in tax breaks, proposing the construction of hundreds of new coal-burning power plants, handing out drilling leases like a drunken sailor, selling off or leasing for next to nothing hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands for "exploration" (Wyoming alone now has over 30,000 new oil and natural gas wells); loosening clean air standards, revising EPA standards for monitoring pollution to let more emissions slip "under the radar," stinting on any serious funding for alternative fuel development, blocking or delaying any energy conservation regulations, etc. ad nauseum.
But, one might well wonder: Why would anyone want to do anything to risk the health of the planet upon which we all must live?
Easy. The same reason that all such outrages have ever been committed throughout time: Greed. By fueling global warming, the fossil fuel barons stand to actually gain - and gain a great deal. It has been revealed that as the arctic ice melts, huge reserves of oil, natural gas and coal are becoming more readily accessible. Last November, Alex Duval-Smith wrote in the "Guardian, " "The 14 million sq km Arctic Ocean is home to 25 per cent of the planet's unextracted oil and natural gas. With a population of four million, the region is much more stable than the Middle East. Global warming, in combination with the current high oil price, makes it ever more accessible." The artificially high oil prices, in fact, may have been engineered as funding for the polar "black gold rush." And with no pesky polar ice, there will be a whole new streamlined shipping lane between Atlantic and Pacific - saving the fossil fuel barons billions - savings that, as their track record shows, will never be passed on to consumers.
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