National Security and Arctic Drilling

Top U.S. military leaders recently wrote to the Obama Administration emphasizing the need for continued drilling in the Arctic, in the interest of national security.

This was in response to a request from the Department of Interior for comments on proposed leasing from 2017- 2022. The military leaders wrote:

  • “As foreign policy and national security specialists, we support retaining the two Arctic leasing areas when the Program is finalized. The strategic significance of the Arctic is growing … Excluding the Arctic from the Program would harm our ability to protect our interests and to promote cooperation in the region.”

The military leaders went on to say:

  • “Russia, notably, has been investing heavily in the region with a world-leading 40 ice-breakers, new Arctic bases, airfields, and ports, and ambitious new energy development projects. Russia’s military has established an Arctic Strategic Command and conducted large-scale Arctic exercises.”
  • “PLA (Navy) destroyers and other combat ships sailed the Aleutian Islands as President Obama toured Alaska, the Chinese Navy’s first operation in the Bering Sea.”
  • “In contrast, Arctic capabilities of the U.S. have dramatically declined.” For example, the Coast Guard now has only two ice breakers, the same number as Estonia, while at one time the Coast Guard had 8.
  • “Our reduced Arctic presence and capabilities challenges the U.S. ability to positively influence all developments in the region.”
  • “Excluding the Arctic from the Program would signal retreat.”

Against this backdrop of concern for the interests of the United States, the AP reported that:

  • “Nearly 400 scientists have signed a letter urging President Obama to eliminate the possibility of Arctic offshore drilling … by taking the Arctic Ocean out of the next federal offshore lease sale plan.”
  • These scientists were concerned, “Global warming will be accelerated by burning oil found in the Arctic Ocean.”

It’s clear that there is considerable pressure to ignore our national security interests in favor of cutting CO2 emissions to comply with the Paris COP 21 accord.

Meanwhile, in May this year, Norway opened its Arctic waters to drilling by 13 oil companies.

Russia is taking the lead in Arctic offshore oil production. Gazprom Neft expects to more than double oil production this year from Prirazlomnaya field in the Pechora Sea.

Russia Arctic Circle
Russia Arctic Circle

Russia has also claimed considerable areas beyond its continental shelf, which could give Russia rights to resources beyond its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone in the Arctic.

China isn’t sitting idly by, and has made some acquisitions with the Arctic in mind. “China also obtained an exploration license for Iceland’s Dreki region in the Norwegian Sea.”

President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau issued a joint statement concerning the Arctic.

A few salient items are as follows:

  • “The two leaders regard the Paris Agreement as a turning point in global efforts to combat climate change and anchor economic growth in clean development.”
  • “Canada and the U.S. will work together to implement the historic Paris Agreement, and commit to join and sign the Agreement as soon as feasible.”
  • “Both countries commit to work together to support robust implementation of the carbon markets-related provisions of the Paris Agreement.”
  • “Canada and the U.S., commit to take action to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.”
  • “Canada and the U.S. affirm their commitment to reduce use and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).”
  • “Reduce emissions from international aviation.”
  • “Commercial activities will occur only when the highest safety and environmental standards are met, including national and global climate and environmental goals.”

For the many other joint U.S. & Canadian commitments concerning the Arctic, see, U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership.

America’s energy interests are in danger of being ignored because of the emphasis being placed on reducing CO2 and methane emissions so as to comply with the Paris accord, even though the accord is supposedly not a treaty, and has not been ratified by the Senate.

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Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear
Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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0 Replies to “National Security and Arctic Drilling”

  1. Considerable continental shelf underlies the perimeter part of the Arctic Ocean, and this shelf has the potential of holding significant fossil fuel reserves. The US ignoring the Arctic Ocean would be like ignoring the Gulf of Mexico — bad policy.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #240 | Watts Up With That?

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