HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  December 11, 2013

Climate Change Clears The Way For The Extraction of Arctic Resources

Canada and Russia are investing in military infrastructure in order to protect economic interests in Arctic energy resources
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

What a hidden gem - Jack
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Yves Engler is a Canadian commentator and author. His most recent book is The Ugly Canadian - Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy, and previously he published The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy and Canada in Haiti: Waging War on The Poor Majority


JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

As global temperatures rise, the Arctic is melting and opening up new shipping routes and previously inaccessible natural resources. On Monday, December 9, the Canadian foreign minister, John Baird, held a press conference reaffirming Canada's recent claim to Arctic resources to the UN, which include the North Pole. Meanwhile, the following day, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he would beef up Russian defense forces in the same region and further develop Russian infrastructure there.

Now joining us to discuss this is Yves Engler, Canadian commentator and author. His most recent book is The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy.

Thank you so much for being with us.


NOOR: So what exactly is at stake here with Canada making this claim? And why should people be concerned about this?

ENGLER: Well, I think what's at stake is, with climate change, resources that were previously inaccessible becoming accessible. Thirty percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of oil is thought to be in the Arctic. Obviously there's also shipping lanes and the ability to potentially put tolls on those that are at play.

I think that as much as the tangible economic interests, just from the Conservative government's perspective this is about nationalism and playing to a certain sentiment among the Canadian public--and as one minister said, this is last lines of Canada--has, you know, sort of very kind of colonial type language being used to try to sort of generate nationalist sentiments. I think that's taking place on the Canadian side, and probably also on the Russian side.

And I think that the main issue that we need to be concerned about is, first of all, the fact that the ice is melting. That's by far the most important issue here is that this is a sign of really big trouble for humanity's ability to survive on this planet in terms of climate disturbances, and also the fact that, you know, the first step after that is how can we extract even more of these energy sources that are causing these climate disturbances and causing this ice to melt. So this is just another example of the irrationality of our current day and of corporate forces in terms of the big question of climate disturbances.

NOOR: And I hope the irony isn't lost to these global leaders that are spearheading this, because they're literally using climate change and global warming to increase natural resource consumption. So it's just baffling in a lot of ways.

But to that last point you made about who's going to end up extracting these resources, it's going to be big corporations either way, whether it's Russia's Gazprom or Shell Oil or another corporation. So at the end of the day, this is only going to get worse, essentially, is what you're arguing.

ENGLER: Yeah, well, I'd say it's probably--is likely to get worse. It's likely that either Russia or Canada, it's going to be major corporations that are going to have access to this, and it's going to have limited benefit to the majority of people who directly are going to benefit and also going to be the main victims by the climate disturbances.

I think that this is--it's important to note how this plays with the Conservative government and their politics. They've repeatedly gone out of their way to stoke conflict with Russia. In 2009, when Obama came to visit Ottawa, the Conservative government claimed that a Russian fighter jet had almost entered Canadian airspace in the Arctic, as if this had something to do with Obama's visit to Ottawa, which is probably about six or seven thousand kilometers away from where the Russian fighter jet was in the Arctic.

But to stake Canada's claim to the north and to do so at the expense of Russia rather than to, you know, sort of--more sort of negotiating manner, it plays well to a sort of Cold War kind of sentiment in this country. It plays well to a militaristic sentiment. It justifies things like the F-35 fighter jet and buying more fighter jets that the current government is supportive of. And it's all being done under the guise that, you know, we should have access to these natural resources, when in fact the best thing, for humanity's perspective, is that no one has access to these natural resources, that the Arctic is never accessible to be drilling for oil or natural gas in the Arctic, because, you know, the ice sheet continues, it doesn't melt, and water levels don't increase, and humanity is spared the worst consequences of climate change. But instead what we have going on here is a combination of sort of nationalistic policies all tied to a potential corporate bottom line policy with regards to actually taking those resources out in upcoming years or upcoming decades.

NOOR: Yves Engler, thank you so much for joining us.

ENGLER: Thanks for having me.

NOOR: You can follow us on Twitter @therealnews, Tweet me questions, story ideas @jaisalnoor.

Thanks so much for joining us.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

Former CIA Director Admits to US Foreign Meddling, Laughs About It
Let's Talk About US Meddling, Too (2/2)
City Council Moves Forward With Ban on Crude Oil Facilities
God and Guns: The Fanatical Faith of the NRA
What Netanyahu's Growing Corruption Scandal Means for the Region
Employers Steal $15B From Low Wage Workers Each Year
For 2018, Top Democrats Follow the Big Money
The Nation's Strongest Charter School Regulations Are Under Attack
What's Behind the Taliban's Call for Talks?
Will Trump's Latest Attack on Obamacare Strike a Death Blow?
Russian Espionage, or Clickbait? (1/2)
Baltimore's Metro Shutdown Underscores City's Transportation Problem (2/2)
Improving Baltimore's Schools Will Take More Than Just Money
Safe Streets in America's 'Most Dangerous City'
How Billy Graham Evangelized for American Empire
State's Attorney's Office fires prosecutor amid Gun Trace Task Force controversy, lawyers call shenanigans
Saudi Arabia's Unholy Alliance with Israel
Can Trump's Neocons Exploit Russiagate? (2/2)
Once a Poster Child for Austerity, Latvia Becomes a Hotbed of Corruption
Is Russia a Threat?
Why is a Russian Troll Farm Being Compared to 9/11?
Wilkerson: The Trump-Netanyahu Iran Plan Means War
President Ramaphosa: From Militant Revolutionary to Corporate Magnate
Were Baltimore's Corrupt Cops High When They Made Attempted Murder Arrest?
Baltimore's Metro Shutdown Underscores City's Transportation Problem (1/2)
Empire Files: In the Deadliest Country for Unions & Social Leaders
A New 'Cancer Alley' for Appalachia
Colombian Peace Agreement with FARC on the Brink of Collapse
Philippine War on Drugs a Cover for President Duterte's Fascism?
Mother of Woman Shot by Baltimore County Police Speaks Out,, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting