CRF Blog

Greenland’s Prime Minister Looks on Global Warming’s Bright Side

by Bill Hayes

In Greenland’s Prime Minister Looks on Global Warming’s Bright Side, Bloomberg Businessweek reports on one country putting a positive spin on global warming.

Greenland is one of the few countries cheering global warming, or at least openly making the most of it. The melting of its ice cap, which covers 80 percent of the island, is a major contributor to a rise in global sea levels. By the end of the century, these levels may climb as much as 2 meters — enough to drown island nations such as Kiribati and the Maldives and flood coastal cities around the world. The Arctic, where a few degrees of temperature can mean the difference between frozen and flowing, is one of the areas where the impacts of global greenhouse gas emissions are most evident. Traditional Inuit hunters are finding it increasingly difficult to carry out their trade. The whale migration has shifted. The ice on which they ride their dog sleds is often thin or absent. Storms and waves once held back by slabs of ice are eroding the coastline, pulling houses into the sea.

And yet, even as global warming puts an end to one way of life, it may enable another. Longer periods of open water mean easier access to resources for ships and workers and the unlocking of the Arctic for drill rigs and mineral exploration. “The people of the Arctic have to adapt very fast,” says [Greenland’s Prime Minister Aleqa] Hammond. “I simply refuse to be the victimized people of climate change.” In their long history on Greenland, the Inuit have survived changes in the climate that wiped out other cultures, including the Vikings. “We’re going to manage this one too, just this time differently,” she says. “This time we have other options than just hunting. We have the right now to our own underground.” [more]