Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Venerable Lloyd's of London - Think Twice Before Exploiting Arctic Resources

Lloyd's of London foresees $100-billion of new exploration in the Arctic in the coming decade.   That has prompted Lloyd's to speak out about the prospect for catastrophic environmental damage from the rush for Arctic oil.

Richard Ward, Lloyd's chief executive, urged companies not to "rush in [but instead to] step back and think carefully about the consequences of that action" before research was carried out and the right safety measures put in place.

...the new report from Lloyd's, written by Charles Emmerson and Glada Lahn of Chatham House, says it is "highly likely" that future economic activity in the Arctic will further disturb ecosystems already stressed by the consequences of climate change.

"Migration patterns of caribou and whales in offshore areas may be affected. Other than the direct release of pollutants into the Arctic environment, there are multiple ways in which ecosystems could be disturbed, such as the construction of pipelines and roads, noise pollution from offshore drilling, seismic survey activity or additional maritime traffic as well as through the break-up of sea ice."

The authors point out that the Arctic is not one but several ecosystems, and is "highly sensitive to damage" that would have a long-term impact. They are calling for "baseline knowledge about the natural environment and consistent environmental monitoring". Pollution sources include mines, oil and gas installations, industrial sites and, in the Russian Arctic, nuclear waste from civilian and military installations, and from nuclear weapons testing on Novaya Zemlya. The report singles out a potential oil spill as the "greatest risk in terms of environmental damage, potential cost and insurance" – but says there are significant knowledge gaps in this area.

And wouldn't it be grand if the Petrolheads of Parliament Hill also waded in to demand caution and strict regulation of exploration efforts.    But, then again, Canada is now a full-fledged petro-state to use Harper's words, "in the very worst sense of the word."


Stewart said...

Ah yes, those radical environmentalists, Lloyd's of London.

What would they know about risk?


Thanks for what you're doing here MOS.

as an aside, that's a nice pic of the GS in your sidebar. I have an RT of an earlier vintage, though I would love a GS too. No space or $ for it. Do you ride currently? You mentioned that you had done some very long trips in an earlier post.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hey Stewart. Wow, you're the first to recognize the GS. Mine is just like it except I have the black side panels. Sure I still ride. I think this will be my 47th year. There has been a lot of luck along the way and plenty of rethinking too. I took the motorcycle safety course when I hit 50 and found I had an awful lot to "unlearn."

The GS is an awesome machine although it has had a couple of electrical quirks. For its size it's lighter than it looks and, once it's rolling, it feels even lighter.

I've had a trip in mind, one that the GS was made for, but that window is closed and I doubt it will re-open in my time. I wanted to get a group of about 4-riders, fly our bikes to Panama and ride back up to Canada along the Pacific. Twice I had the necessary riders lined up and twice it all fell apart. Now, with Guatemala and Honduras turning far deadlier even than Mexico, I think it's just too dangerous.

Fortunately out here there are plenty of great coastal and mountain roads to ride and, for the GS, a good number of logging and forestry roads and trails.

Are you one for long trips? You can run a lot of miles on an RT.

Thanks for the nod, Stewart. I'm no longer enmeshed in partisan politics as some are. I'm drawn instead to what I see are issues that progressives should be aware of or addressing.

I frequently recite a long list of calamities that are setting in around the planet today. I do that in hope progressives will discern the common thread(s) that run through all of them, bind these problems together and leave them virtually insoluble. Once you see the common thread you realize that you can't solve any of these problems without solving all of them and the thread is the key to doing just that.

Thus endeth the unintended sermon for today. Thanks for stopping by, Stewart.