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US Empty Rhetoric In GLACIER Conference

By Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava

03 September, 2015

US President Barack Obama has accepted that climate change has almost come to destroy the human civilization. In his speech in Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center Alaska, where GLACIER conference (Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience) was organized by the government with participation of diplomatic representatives from the countries related to Arctic region, he accepted the truth of our age. The conference was aimed to ponder over the environmental impact on the Arctic region.

US President warned that climate change was to be the defining threat of this century and the world was nor very fast to deal this alarming issue. He further stated that climate was being destroyed by the human activity and that once distant threat is now very much near. President Barack Obama has usually followed a pragmatic climate policy.

The paradox is that Obama was speaking in a conference where likely threats on the region were being talked about. President Obama’s speech in the conference was enlightening one but a truth also exists suggesting that statements of high order are in reality are empty words. A report in Guardian says that “meanwhile on the other side of the Arctic Ocean, Shell’s small corporate navy is nearing its destination in the Chukchi Sea, north of Alaska. This week the Obama administration granted the world’s second largest oil company final approval to restart its search for Arctic oil, and its platforms will soon begin to drill 2,400 metres deep. The exploration season is short and the dangers great, but after 10 years of trying and $7bn spent hoping to unlock the region’s resources, Shell clearly still believes it can find and exploit a giant new oil field to secure its future for decades.”
( John Vidal,Shell will despoil the Arctic. But Barack Obama is the real villain here, The Guardian,21 August ,2015)

USA seems to have played a clever policy on Arctic, first to control the area as the administration treats it as a vital region serving its national interest, then to exploit the resources, as about166 bn barrels of oil equivalent may be present here. The Telegraph in its report had stated that “Shell’s plan for the Chukchi may involve using two rigs to reach production of around 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, roughly half the UK’s current output of oil from the North Sea. Tapping oil and gas reserves held under the Arctic will be vital to meeting expected global energy demand beyond 2040.”
(Andrew Critchlow, Barack Obama gives Shell go-ahead to drill for oil in Alaskan Arctic, The Telegraph, 31 March 2015)

USA is chairman of Arctic Council during 2015-17. In the Arctic meet on April 24, 2015 at Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the new Chair of the Arctic Council, stated, “There’s only ‘one Arctic’ and all of us – the United States, other nations, indigenous peoples, and Arctic communities - must join together to ensure responsible stewardship of this incredible region.”

This is a holy statement but USA if really wants to show the true leadership in the climate change problem and Arctic issue in particular; it must redefine its policies. It needs to introspect. Shell drilling is not free with the risks. The conditions applied on the Shell are not in a position to save the Arctic ecosystem and its environment, perhaps because so far no man made system has been developed which allows the exportation of the resources simultaneously protecting the ecosystem in its original and purest form. Hence the speech of President Barak Obama does not carry the credibility with respect to the interests of Arctic region.

In fact not only the USA but all the countries having stake in the region must ponder with true spirit to understand the adverse consequences of the exploration and exploitation of the region. All nation states are in the same boat in which USA has boarded; future awaits for human civilization where such boats will capsize in the ocean of disasters, not in remote future but in the years to come.

Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava, presently Assistant Professor in CSJM Kanpur University[affiliated college],Vice Chairman CSSP, email: vpy1000@yahoo.co.in


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