Going After The Arctic

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The scramble for the Arctic. President Obama’s in Alaska. We’ll look at the stakes.

Denali is seen from a window on Air Force One during descent into Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 31, 2015. (Pete Souza/White House)
Denali is seen from a window on Air Force One during descent into Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 31, 2015. (Pete Souza/White House)

President Obama, out on a glacier in Alaska today with wilderness survivalist Bear Grylls. A melting glacier. To make the point that we've got a hot planet to worry about. The heat goes north of Alaska, too. All the way to the North Pole. The Arctic is being transformed by climate change. Global warming. The polar ice cap is melting away, melting back. For environmentalists, that's a five-alarm fire bell. For would-be Arctic developers, that's an opportunity. To fish, to mine, to drill, to sail. This hour On Point: going after the Arctic.
- Tom Ashbrook


Zach Hughes, reporter for Alaska Public Media. (@ZachHughesAK)

Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen, professor of political science at the University of Southern Denmark.

Steven Lee Myers, diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times. Author of the forthcoming The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin. (@stevenleemyers)

Victoria Herrmann, U.S. Director of the Arctic Institute.

From Tom's Reading List

The New York Times: U.S. Is Playing Catch-Up With Russia in Scramble for the Arctic -- "Russia is far from the only rival — or potential one — in the Arctic. China, South Korea and Singapore have increasingly explored the possibility that commercial cargo could be shipped to European markets across waters — outside Russia’s control — that scientists predict could, by 2030, be ice-free for much of the summer."

Bloomberg View: U.S. Gets Frozen Out of the Arctic -- "As ice turns to navigable ocean, the Arctic is becoming the U.S.'s third great ocean border, creating vexing strategic challenges and unprecedented opportunities. These include not only climate change, but threats to national sovereignty and security, revolutions in international commerce and a “Klondike”-like rush to control vast undersea resources."

ABC News: 3 Issues Obama Should Discuss, Besides Climate Change, as He Heads to the Arctic — "President Obama heads north today to highlight the issue of climate change against the backdrop of receding glaciers in Alaska. While visiting the 49th state, he plans to tour Seward’s Exit glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, which has receded more than 1.25 miles since records have been kept, visit fishing villages and head to the Arctic Circle, all to highlight the dire need for action on climate change. The White House says the Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the world as a whole."

This program aired on September 1, 2015.


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