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Greenlanders looking forward to global warming

Greenlanders looking forward to global warming

Greenlanders looking forward to global warming
July 18, 2006

Some people in Greenland are looking forward to climate change according to an article in today’s issue of The Wall Steet Journal.

In “For Icy Greenland, Global Warming Has a Bright Side”, journalist Lauren Etter finds examples of global warming-induced changes that could benefit Greenlanders. She notes that the 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit rise in temperatures over the past 30 years has extended the growing season by two weeks while melting glaciers have exposed land for grazing and warmer seas enable fishermen to catch warm-water cod.

“Greenland represents one of the largely unrecognized paradoxes of global warming,” she writes. “In former Vice President Al Gore’s recent film ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ the melting of Greenland’s ice cap, along with a similar cap in the Antarctic, is portrayed as one of the greatest threats of global warming. If the layers of ice and snow holding billions of tons of water were to melt, scientists warn that global sea levels would rise by 40 feet, submerging lower Manhattan, the Netherlands and much of California. But to many of the people who live here in Greenland, the warming trend is a boon, not a threat.”

Temperatures in Greenland could rise by another 14 degrees by the end of the century according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. Aerial photo of Greenland by Tina Butler.

She writes that warmer temperatures will bring benefits to other cold climates around the world, including Canada which may see an expansion of agricultural zones and the Peruvian Andres, where farmers can already cultivate potatoes at high altitudes.

Etter suggests that scientists downplay the benefits of warming so as not to undermine efforts to slow global warming. Nevertheless, she writes that “many climate scientists argue that any local benefits of the warming trend are more than offset by the global costs.”

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This article used information and quotes from “For Icy Greenland, Global Warming Has a Bright Side”, an article that appeared in The Wall Steet Journal on July 18, 2006.

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