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Letters to the Editor: A Public Forum
Passage
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 • Posted November 21, 2013

In regards to the Outdoors Outpost in last week’s paper claiming the Northwest Passage is completely iced over—what a bunch of malarkey. He needs to look at some facts.

A Danish-owned coal-laden cargo ship (all 738 feet of it) has sailed through the Northwest Passage for the first time and into the history books as the second bulk carrier to navigate the Arctic route. The Danish Nordic Orion left Vancouver, British Columbia, Sept. 17, 2013 carrying 15,000 tons of coal and later docked in Finland.. The arrival was four days earlier than if it had gone through the Panama Canal. The ship also couldn’t have carried as much coal since the Panama Canal is so shallow. The ship saved an estimated $200,000 by taking the Northwest Passage. The captain didn’t say anything about finding yachts stranded in the ice. Could be the yachts took a wrong turn or were just a figment of somebody’s imagination?

Interest in the Northwest Passage is on the rise as climate change is melting Arctic sea ice, creating open waterways. The melting ice could make it a regular Atlantic-Pacific shipping lane. Canada has laid claim over ownership of the passage but it is joined by Russia, the U.S., and Denmark in drafting claims before a U.N. commission to extend their undersea boundaries into the Northwest Passage and beyond.

Other evidence of climate change includes Montana’s Glacier National Park. There’s a saying going around that it’s going to be renamed “Glacier National Historic Monument” since at the rate of ice loss in the last 50 years, there will be no glaciers left by 2050. Worldwide, according to factual data, about 90% of glaciers are shrinking. Sure a scientist can cherry pick and find a lone glacier here and there that’s not in retreat, but facts are facts.

Most scientists like to stick to the facts, but there are always some, if paid enough, will say anything and to heck with the facts.. Climate change is here to stay and many corporations, such as Chevron, are pouring large sums of money into R&D to deal with the consequences of it. I certainly hope we are smart enough and caring enough to face the facts and try our best to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren.

Julie Alford

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