Magazine article Geographical

Blessing or Curse?

Magazine article Geographical

Blessing or Curse?

Article excerpt

The recent discovery of gas-bearing sediments off the coast of Greenland (page 11) has brought vastly conflicting responses from the various interested parties. Many locals are overjoyed, convinced that the economic bounty that the deposits promise will enable the island to finally break away from Denmark. Conservation groups are less enthusiastic, concerned about the potential environmental consequences of drilling in this fragile region. Indeed, Greenpeace activists have already begun direct action on the exploration rig that made the discovery.

In the wake of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it's difficult not to feel a certain amount of sympathy for Greenpeace's position. Drilling in the Arctic is particularly fraught, the sea ice and intense weather conditions making the possibility of an accident that much more likely, and that much more difficult to rectify. An oil spill would threaten pristine environments, and the cold temperatures would slow down the oil's decomposition.

At the other end of the spectrum, the discovery of oil and gas deposits beneath the warm waters of the Gulf of Guinea seems to be a win-win situation. …

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