Global Warming of One Kind or Another

The arctic ice near Alaska has receded so far that shippers are now starting to send cargo through the Northeast passage, something previously impossible even in the height of summer. The shippers, a German company called "Beluga", had to traverse not just detached flows (e.g. icebergs), but also the Russian permitting authority, which has never before had to issue permits for such a crossing. The Russians, seeing the opportunity to supplant the Suez canal for certain routes are making noises about reducing cost and permit paperwork. Sure, the route is eco-friendly in that it cuts 3,000 miles out of the trip from Rotterdam to Yokahama, but that seems to miss the real ecological point, doesn't it?

And on to a more direct form of global warming. One patch of sand in Utah got particularly warm at the hands of NASA's new Ares 5 first stage booster. It doesn't look like much, until you realize that the rocket is the size of a warehouse - larger than the current shuttle boosters - and packs 22 million horsepower. Hi ho NASA away!

1 comment:

David said...

NE passage sounds like an excellent environmental win to me.

One of the things to remember about ecology in general is that "changes aren't permanent, but change is." It's been a lot hotter and a lot colder than now in the past - what matters is how we adapt to our environment. Unless, of course, you'd rather that we adapt our environment to ourselves... ;)