The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future - Laurence C. Smith (2010)


1 The October 2008 median home price in Los Angeles County, California, was $355,000. Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2008.

2 Personal communication with Marsha Branigan, Manager, Wildlife Management Environment and Natural Resources, Inuvik, NWT, December 4, 2007.

3 “Hairy Hybrid: Half Grizzly, Half Polar Bear,” MSNBC World Environment, May 11, 2006.

4 Of particular relevance to the pizzly story is the recent discovery that transient grizzly bears are now regular visitors to Canada’s Arctic Archipelago, and a small but viable population may be establishing itself in or around Melville Island. See J. P. Doupé, J. H. England, M. Furze, D. Paetkau, “Most Northerly Observation of a Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) in Canada: Photographic and DNA Evidence from Melville Island, Northwest Territories,” Arctic60, no. 3 (September 2007): 271-276. The second hybrid animal was shot April 8, 2010, near the Canadian town of Ulukhaktok. Genetic tests confirmed it was the offspring of a polar-grizzly mother and a grizzly father. “Bear shot in N.W.T. was grizzly-polar hyprid,” CBC News, April 30, 2010,; also “Grizzy-polar bear cross confirmed,” Vancouver Sun, May 3, 2010; “Tests confirm offspring of hybrid polar-grizzly bear;” CTV News, May 2, 2010.

5 6.1 km/yr average range shift from a quantitative assessment examining historical data for >1,046 species. C. Parmesan, G. Yohe, “A Globally Coherent Fingerprint of Climate Change Impacts across Natural Systems,” Nature 421 (2003): 37-42. Springtime phenological shifts averaged 4.2 days earlier per decade between 32° and 49° N latitude, and 5.5 days earlier per decade from 50° to 72° N latitude. T. L. Root et al., “Fingerprints of Global Warming on Wild Animals and Plants,” Nature 42 (2003): 57-60.

6 In February 2010 successive blizzards buried Washington, D.C., and were followed by snowstorms that closed schools from Texas to the Florida Panhandle to the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, whitening places that hadn’t seen snow in a decade or more. Classes were canceled in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. M. Nelson, “Rare snowflakes start falling from Miss. to Fla.,” Associated Press, February 12, 2010, The collection of storms was dubbed “Snowpocalypse” and “Snowmageddon” by pundits, e.g., S. Bezrob, “Covering the Snowpocalypse,” FoxNews .com, February 10, 2010, Meanwhile, snow sport events at the Vancouver Winter Olympics were mired in rain, e.g., S. Almasy, “4,000 to miss out on snowboard cross because of rain,”, February 15, 2010,

7 This is an actual supply chain. For an in-depth examination of the globalization of the tomato, see Bill Pritchard, David Burch, Agri-Food Globalization in Perspective: International Restructuring in the Processing Tomato Industry (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing, 2003), 308 pp.

8 G. A. Strobel et al., “The Production of Myco-diesel Hydrocarbons and Their Derivatives by the Endophytic Fungus Gliocladium roseum,” Microbiology 154 (2008): 3319-3328, DOI:10.1099/mic.0.2008/022186-0.

9 S. Pinker, “A History of Violence,” The New Republic 236 (March 19, 2007): 18-21; D. Jones, “Human Behaviour: Killer Instincts,” Nature 451, no. 7178 (2008): 512-515.

10 To name just two examples, economic growth models seldom consider political changes to immigration policy; climate model projections depend strongly on their assumptions about cloud physics.

11 “The Fox knows many things, but the Hedgehog knows one big thing.” This phenomenon has been statistically studied by Philip Tetlock at UC Berkeley, who discovered predictions made by economic and political pundits often fare little better than flipping a coin. But by casting a wide net for subject matter, the probability that an important factor will be missed is reduced. P. E. Tetlock, Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006), 352 pp.

12 The following global population estimates are taken from the U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base (updated June 18, 2008), (accessed September 26, 2008).

13 We will return to Thomas Malthus and his 1798 An Essay on the Principle of Population in Chapter 3.

14 Paul R. Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (New York: Ballantine Books, 1968).

15 The term death rate usually refers to the crude death rate, measured as the number of deaths per thousand people in a population. There are different measures of population fertility; this book uses the total fertility rate (TFR), which is the average number of children for a woman within that population. Because it is a statistical average, it is possible to have noninteger values of TFR, for example 1.7 children per woman, a real-world impossibility. I also use the term birth rate to refer to TFR, not to be confused with crude birth rate, the raw number of births per thousand people. For a good introduction to population demography, including its definitions, the demographic balancing equation, and data collection issues, see J. A. McFalls Jr., “Population: A Lively Introduction,” 5th ed., Population Bulletin 62, no. 1 (March 2007).

16 W. Thompson, “Population,” American Journal of Sociology 34 (1929): 959-975. See also M. L. Bacci, A Concise History of World population, 4th ed. (Wiley-Blackwell), 296 pp.

17 For a good discussion of how the Demographic Transition unfolded differently in developing countries than it did in Europe and North America, see the unparalleled book by J. E. Cohen, How Many People Can the World Support? (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1995), 532 pp.

18 The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), a group of thirty developed and emerging-market countries with high global integration. Throughout this book I use OECD or developed to refer to this cohort rather than the term first-world. Today’s OECD originated in the post-World War II Marshall Plan as the Organization of European Economic Cooperation, which later expanded to include non-European countries. OECD members as of April 2010 were Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

19 83%, computed from Human Influence Index (HII) grids, NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), (accessed October 8, 2008).

20 The following historical data on U.S. energy consumption taken from Appendix F, EIA (Energy Information Administration) Annual Energy Review 2001, U.S Department of Energy, (accessed October 9, 2008).

21 The following numbers are calculated from British thermal unit (Btu) data. One Btu is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. One barrel of crude oil = 5,800,000 Btu, one short ton of coal = 20,754,000 Btu, one cubic foot of natural gas = 1,031 Btu, one cord wood=20,000,000 Btu.

22 Coal increased from 6,841 to 22,580 trillion Btu/year. Appendix F, EIA Annual Energy Review, 2001.

23 Oil increased from 229 to 38,404 trillion Btu/year. Ibid.

24 Wood-fuel increased from 2,015 to 2,257 trillion Btu/year. Ibid.

25 Jared Diamond, “What’s Your Consumption Factor?” The New York Times, January 2, 2008.

26 For a brief introduction to globalization see Manfred Steger’s Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). See also Global Transformations by David Held et al., eds. (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1999); Runaway World by Anthony Giddens (New York: Routledge, 2000); Why Globalization Works by Martin Wolf (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004); Globalization and the Race for Resources by Steven Bunker and Paul Ciccantell (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005); Hegemony: The New Shape of Global Power by John A. Agnew (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005); In Defense of Globalization by Jagdish Bhagwati (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization’s Rough Landscape by Harm de Blij (USA: Oxford University Press, 2008); Social Economy of the Metropolis: Cognitive-Cultural Capitalism and the Global Resurgence of Cities by Allen J. Scott (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); and Globalization and Sovereignty by John A. Agnew (Lanham, Md., and Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2009).

27 T. L. Friedman, The World Is Flat (Gordonsville, Va.: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005).

28 From “Store Openings,” (accessed November 13, 2009).

29 P. 38, Steger, Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

30 For more on how the United States exported its business model to the world, see J. A. Agnew, Hegemony: The New Shape of Global Power (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005).

31 The Washington Consensus is attributed to John Williamson of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think tank in Washington, D.C. ( Its policies have now been adopted by (or forced onto, depending on one’s point of view) many developing countries. Neoliberals praise these reforms, citing new markets and jobs for struggling people. Critics point to two-dollar-a-day wages while multinational corporations grow rich. The Washington Consensus and similar policies remain highly controversial. If you have any antiglobalization friends, mention it to them sometime and watch their mouths foam.

32 “Expanding trade and investment has been one of the highest priorities of my administration. . . . When I took office, America had free trade agreements in force with only three nations. Today, we have agreements in force with fourteen.” From November 22, 2008, speech in Lima, Peru, by outgoing U.S. president George W. Bush to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, his final summit gathering as president. See transcript, Office of the Press Secretary (accessed November 23, 2008). See also “At Summit, Bush Touts Free-Trade Record,”, November 22, 2008; and “Bush Wraps Up Asia Economic Meeting,” The New York Times, November 23, 2008.

33 Some economists speculated the 2008-09 global financial crisis might tilt the world back toward tariffs and protectionism. This notion was rebuffed at a September 2009 G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, billed as a sort of “Bretton Woods II,” which was toothless on banking regulations but strongly reaffirmed a common goal of continued free trade expansion in the developing world.

34 The most important greenhouse gas is water vapor, but unlike carbon dioxide its residence time in the atmosphere is extremely short. Without the greenhouse effect, global temperatures would average about 0°F (-18°C) versus 59°F (15°C) today. Some details of this section drawn from Tim Hall’s chapter on climate drivers, in G. Schmidt and J. Wolfe, Climate Change: Picturing the Science (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2009), 320 pp. See also R. Henson, The Rough Guide to Climate Change (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 2008), 374 pp. Both books provide very accessible introductions to the physics of climate and climate change.

35 The analogy to a closed car or glass greenhouse is imperfect because air circulation is not trapped in a moving atmosphere, but it’s close enough for our purposes here.

36 Svante Arrhenius, “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground,” Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 5th Series 41 (April 1896): 237-276.

37 For more about Arrhenius and other early research on the greenhouse effect, see R. Henson, The Rough Guide to Climate Change (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 2008).

38 From global weather station data, the average hundred-year linear trend from 1906 to 2005 is +0.74°C (with error bars, between +0.56°C and +0.92°C). From air bubbles trapped in ice cores, we know atmospheric CO2concentrations averaged ~280 ppm in the preindustrial era (before ~1750 A.D.) versus ~387 ppm in 2009. The first continuous direct sampling of CO2 concentration was begun by Charles “Dave” Keeling at Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958 and continued by his son Ralph Keeling. Carbon dioxide levels have risen consistently every year from ~315 ppm in 1958 to ~387 ppm in 2009. For the latest data, see The 2007 IPCC SRES B1, A1T, B2, A1B, A2, and A1FI illustrative marker scenarios are about 600, 700, 800, 850, 1,250, and 1,550 ppm, by century’s end respectively, with different scenarios reflecting different assumptions about controlling carbon emissions. Such numbers are two to five times preindustrial levels. IPCC AR4 Synthesis Report, Table 3.1. (Full reference IPCC Fourth Assessment Report [AR4], Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, Contribution of Working Groups I, II, and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Core Writing Team, R. K. Pachauri, A. Reisinger (eds.), IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland: 104 pp.) available at

39 J. O’Neill, S. Lawson, “Things Are Heating Up: Economic Issues and Opportunities from Global Warming,” CEO Confidential, Issue 2007-01, Goldman Sachs, February 8, 2007; J. Lash, F. Wellington, “Competitive Advantage on a Warming Planet,” Harvard Business Review, March 2007.

40 USCAP Press Release, “Joint Statement of the United States Climate Action Partnership,” January 19, 2007, (accessed November 20, 2008).

41 From (accessed November 23, 2008). The Web page later showed the withdrawal of several members.

42 Atmospheric CO2 variations have both natural cycles—which fall and rise with ice ages and warm interglacial periods—and anthropogenic sources, which are also substantial but rise much faster. Our current anthropogenic boost is perched on top of an already large natural interglacial peak, thus taking the atmosphere to levels not seen since the Miocene. Over the past 800,000 years of multiple ice age/warm interglacial cycles, including the current interglacial of the past ~12,000 years, preindustrial atmospheric CO2 levels cycled within a range of ~172 (ice age) to 300 (interglacial) parts per million by volume (ppmv). Human activity has now boosted that to ~385 ppmv and we are projected to reach at least 450 ppmv and perhaps as much as 1,550 ppmv by the end of this century. See ice-core record, D. Lüthi et al., “High-Resolution Carbon Dioxide Concentration Record 650,000-800,000 Years before Present,” Nature 453 (2008): 379-382, DOI:10.1038/nature06949; also Urs Siegenthaler et al., “Stable Carbon Cycle-Climate Relationship during the Late Pleistocene,” Science 310, no. 131 (November 2005), DOI:10.1126/science.1120130, and others.

43 Much older Miocene PCO2 now estimated from boron/calcium ratios in ocean core foraminifera, A. K. Tripati, C. D. Roberts, R. A. Eagle, “Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability over Major Climate Transitions of the Last 20 Million Years,” Science 326, no. 5958 (December 4, 2009): 1394-1397, DOI:10.1126/science.1178296.

44 These events reconstructed from the victim’s interview on Fox News (“Black Friday Tragedy,” January 23, 2009); Newsday (“Trampled Wal-Mart Worker Had Helped Pregnant Woman,” January 24, 2009); and materials provided by the Nassau County Police Department, courtesy Detective Anthony Repalone, January 8, 2009.

45 Population growth, commerce, and trade are not, of course, the only factors driving urban economic growth. For the past ten to twenty years, foreign direct investment has been at least as important. Effective governance and infrastructure are also critical. We will come to these later in the chapter. For more on how the level of urbanization is not always “coupled” to economic growth, see D. E. Bloom, D. Canning, G. Fink, “Urbanization and the Wealth of Nations,” Science 319 (2008).

46 Even slum cities in our poorest countries usually offer better economic opportunities than do surrounding rural areas, although the job sector is informal and quality of life low. Global employment in services now averages 40% of total employment, versus 39% in agriculture. In developed countries and the European Union, service-sector jobs capture a whopping 73% of all employment. In contrast, they capture just 28% in sub-Saharan Africa. P. 330 and Table 11.2, P. Knox et al., The Geography of the World Economy, 5th ed. (London: Hodder Education, 2008), 464 pp.

47 Governments around the world are doing their part to help encourage all this. A new survey of 245 of the world’s fastest-growing cities found them building transportation systems, designating “special economic zones,” and streamlining their banking and financial systems. State of the World’s Cities 2008/2009, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) (UK and USA: Earthscan, 2008).

48 World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2008.

49 State of the World’s Cities 2008/2009, UN-HABITAT, 2008.

50 Press Conference, United Nations Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York, February 26, 2008.

51 UN-HABITAT Press Release, SOWC/08/PR2, 2008.

52 Table I.7, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2008.

53 66.2% urban in 2050 versus 40.8% urban in 2007; whereas Europe was 72.2% urban in 2007 and is projected to be 76.2% urban in 2050. Table I.5, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2008.

54 The 40% figure is relative to the year 2007. UN model projections for 2050 (medium variant) are population of the world 9.191 billion, Africa 1.998 billion, China 1.409 billion, India 1.658 billion, Europe 0.664 billion, South America 0.516 billion, North America 0.445 billion. These and most other population projections from World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision Population Database, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, viewed January 30, 2009.

55 UN-HABITAT, 2008.

56 Hong Kong is ranked first. This index was created by the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal and ranks the world’s countries using ten descriptors ranging from free trade to corruption. Singapore received 87 out of 100 possible points in 2009; the United States received 80 points out of 100, ranking it sixth behind Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand. Nigeria received only 55 points, ranking it #117 out of 179 countries evaluated. Data from, viewed January 28, 2009.

57 Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and Temasek Holdings, V. Shih, “Tools of Survival: Sovereign Wealth Funds in Singapore and China,” Geopolitics 14, no. 2 (2009): 328-344; also (accessed November 16, 2009).

58 Mass transit is so efficient and appealing in Singapore that it has far fewer cars per capita than other comparable cities. Only 5% of Singapore’s energy consumption goes into transportation, unlike Berlin (35%), London (26%), New York (36%), Tokyo (38%), Bologna (28%), Mexico City (53%), or Buenos Aires (49%). Figure 3.4.3, and 3.4.4 UN-HABITAT, 2008, p. 160.

59 Allen J. Scott, Technopolis: High-Technology Industry and Regional Development in Southern California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 322 pp.

60 H. Ghesquiere, Singapore’s Success: Engineering Economic Growth (Singapore: Thomson Learning, 2007).

61 M. Gandy, “Planning, Anti-planning, and the Infrastructure Crisis Facing Metropolitan Lagos,” Urban Studies 43, no. 2 (2006): 371-396.

62 E. Alemika, I. Chukwuma, “Criminal Victimization and Fear of Crime in Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria,” CLEEN Foundation Monograph Series, no. 1, 2005.

63 J. Harnishfeger, “The Bakassi Boys: Fighting Crime in Nigeria,” Journal of Modern African Studies 41, no. 1 (2003): 23-49.

64 “The State of Human Rights in Nigeria, 2005-2006,” National Human Rights Commission, Nigeria, 2006, (accessed March 31, 2010). Note: The events described in this document were not independently verified.

65 P. 1, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World (Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Intelligence Council, 2008), 99 pp.

66 “Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050,” Global Economics Paper no 99, Goldman Sachs (2003), 24 pp. Other, more recent model studies yield comparable results.

67 E.g., from the global accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers, “The World in 2050: How Big Will the Major Emerging Market Economies Get and How Can the OECD Compete?” J. Hawksworth, Head of Macroeconomics, PWC (2006), 46 pp.; and the Japan Center for Economic Research, “Long-term Forecast of Global Economy and Population 2006-2050: Demographic change and the Asian Economy,” JCER (March 2007), 51 pp., and others.

68 These data are from the above econometric model study of the BRICs by Goldman Sachs. All figures in inflation-adjusted 2003 U.S. dollars, for years 2003 and 2050, Appendix II, Global Paper no. 99, Goldman Sachs (2003). Rather than simply extrapolating current growth rates, the model prescribes a set of clear assumptions capturing how growth and development work. Some of these—like continued financial and institutional stability, openness to trade, and education, for example—could certainly change with the choices of future political leaders. The extent to which the 2008-09 global economic collapse might delay these particular projections is unclear, but as of April 2010 these developing economies were recovering sharply (see next).

69 From 2007 to 2009, GDP grew 2.17%, 8.76%, 6.35% annually for Brazil, India, and China, respectively, and shrank -1.6%, -2.08%, and -3.07% in the U.S., Germany, and Japan. The revised Carnegie 2050 GDP projections are also from this study. U. Dadush and B. Stancil, “The G20 in 2050,” International Economic Bulletin, November 2009, (accessed November 26, 2009).

70 “Brazil Takes Off,” The Economist 339, no. 8657 (November 12, 2009): 15.

71 Dadush and Stancil (2009).

72 The Goldman Sachs study projects Russia’s per capita income to rise to around USD $50,000 by 2050 (all figures in inflation-adjusted 2003 U.S. dollars).

73 India’s per capita income in 2010 was less than USD $1,000; it is projected to rise to around USD $17,000 by 2050 (all figures in inflation-adjusted 2003 U.S. dollars).

74 P. 99, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World (Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Intelligence Council, 2008), 99 pp.

75 William A. V. Clark, The California Cauldron: Immigration and the Fortunes of Local Communities (New York: The Guilford Press, 1998), 224 pp.

76 See note 15.

77 For a good example of how population momentum is playing out in Asia, see S. B. Westley, “A Snapshot of Populations in Asia,” Asia-Pacific Population & Policy 59 (2002).

78 0.55% per year in 2050, a global population doubling time of about 130 years, versus 1.02% in 2007, a doubling time of about 70 years. Data projections from World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision Population Database, United Nations Population Division, viewed January 29, 2009.

79 L. Hayflick, “The Future of Ageing,” Nature 408 (2000): 267-269.

80 One-half the population is older than the median age, and one-half is younger. All age data from World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision Population Database, United Nations Population Division, viewed January 29, 2009.

81 Ibid.

82 In our least-developed countries this is also exacerbated by low life expectancy owing to poor health care, poor nutrition, and violence.

83 For example in Germany, a “rationing” of geriatric health care services is envisioned by 2050. R. Osterkamp, “Bevölkerungsentwicklung in Deutschland bis 2050 Demografische und ökonomische Konsequenzen für die Alterschirurgie,” Der Chirurg 76, no. 1 (2005).

84 There is also the “youth dependency ratio,” defined as the number of individuals aged zero to fourteen divided by the number of individuals aged fifteen to sixty-four, and the “total dependency ratio,” defined as the sum of the youth dependency ratio and the elderly dependency ratio. The basic assumption behind these numeric ranges is that children under fifteen are in school and adults over sixty-four stop working, so both age groups are dependent, either upon working-age family members or upon state entitlement programs.

85 R. Hutchens, K. L. Papps, “Developments in Phased Retirement,” in R. L. Clark, O. S. Mitchell, eds., Reinventing the Development Paradigm (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

86 E. Calvo, K. Haverstick, S. A. Sass, “Gradual Retirement, Sense of Control, and Retirees’ Happiness,” Research on Aging 31, no. 1 (2009).

87 “Japan’s Pensioners Embark on ‘Grey Crime’ Wave,” The Independent, April 13, 2006; “Report: More Elderly Japanese Turn to Petty Crime,” CNN Asia, December 24, 2008.

88 See note 79.

89 P. 22, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World (Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Intelligence Council, 2008), 99 pp.

90 “The People Crunch,” The Economist 390, no. 8614 (January 13, 2009).

91 Direct material imports of 3.2 metric tons of fossil fuel, between 8 and 9 tons of renewable raw materials including water, and between 11 and 15 tons of ores and minerals. These estimates were calculated at the country level, but Sweden is 85% urban. V. Palm, K. Jonsson, “Materials Flow Accounting in Sweden Material Use for National Consumption and for Export,” Journal of Industrial Ecology 7, no. 1, (2003): 81-92.

92 This materials accounting was monitored in 2004 for one full year. S. Niza, L. Rosado, “Methodological Advances in Urban Material Flow Accounting: The Lisbon Case Study,” presented at ConAccount 2008, Urban Metabolism, Measuring the Ecological City, Prague, September 11-12, 2008.

93 For unknown reasons this link between urban growth and natural resource supply has been historically ignored in urbanization research. Of particular importance to China’s cities are cement, steel, aluminum, and coal. L. Shen, S. Cheng, A. J. Gunson, H. Wan, “Urbanization, Sustainability and the Utilization of Energy and Mineral Resources in China,” Cities 22, no. 4 (2005): 287-302.

94 Both factors have contributed heavily to the export economies of newly industrializing countries. Often heavy industries have expanded even faster than consumer manufacturing. Such countries are exporting not only T-shirts and computer components but also steel, machinery, and chemicals.

95 Malthus’ book was, in fact, hugely influential on the young Charles Darwin, helping him to arrive at his theory of Natural Selection some six decades later. The full title of the first edition, which Malthus published anonymously in 1798, was An Essay on the Principle of Population as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society, with Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and other Writers (London: printed for J. Johnson, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard). Later versions appeared under his own name. This landmark book is still in print and remains controversial to this day.

96 Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb (New York: Ballantine Books, 1968), discussed in Chapter 1, and a number of other books. The late Julian Simon rebuts Ehrlich in The Ultimate Resource (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981) and others, arguing that the only limit to human growth is human ingenuity.

97 This expansion of Malthus’ ideas beyond issues of food production began in the 1800s, including by British economist David Ricardo, who discussed mineral deposits, and W. Stanley Jevons, who, in 1865, predicted that limits to coal reserves would ultimately halt the country’s economic growth. Within a century Jevon’s predictions of “peak coal” proved correct.

98 Data sources for the World Reserves table are the BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2008, 45 pp., (accessed February 12, 2009) (oil, gas, coal through 2007); and World Metals & Minerals Review 2005 (London: British Geological Survey and Metal Bulletin, 2005), 312 pp. (through 2003). Natural gas is converted to LNG (1 metric ton liquefied natural gas = 48,700 cubic feet). “Titanium” is TiO2. Platinum group includes platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and ruthenium. Assumed human population is 6,830,000,000 (2010 estimate, United Nations).

99 A single cubic kilometer of average crustal rock contains 200,000,000 metric tons of aluminum, 100,000,000 metric tons of iron, 800,000 metric tons of zinc, and 200,000 metric tons of copper, so mineral exhaustion in the molecular sense is meaningless. D. W. Brooks, P. W. Andrews, “Mineral Resources, Economic Growth, and World Population,” Science 185 (1974): 13-10.

100 For more on this discussion of mineral exhaustion and the perils of a fixed-stock approach to resource assessment, see John E. Tilton, On Borrowed Time? Assessing the Threat of Mineral Depletion (Washington, D.C.: RFF Press, 2002), 160 pp.

101 Matthew R. Simmons, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2005), 428 pp.

102 A very detailed analysis comes from the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan. The authors use the Goldman Sachs BRICs and G6 economic projections discussed in Chapter 2 to project future demand for twenty-two metals. K. Halada, M. Shimada, K. Ijima, “Forecasting of the Consumption of Metals up to 2050,” Materials Transactions 49, no. 3 (2008): 402-410.

103 J. B. Legarth, “Sustainable Metal Resource Management—the Need for Industrial Development: Efficiency Improvement Demands on Metal Resource Management to Enable a Sustainable Supply until 2050,” Journal of Cleaner Production 4, no. 2 (1996): 97-104; see also C. M. Backman, “Global Supply and Demand of Metals in the Future,” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, 71 (2008): 1244-1254.

104 Unconventional oil is much more difficult to extract and includes materials that are often excavated, like oil shales and tar sands, and high-viscosity oils.

105 Based on their analysis of eight hundred oil fields, including all fifty-four “supergiants” containing five billion or more barrels, the International Energy Agency estimates the world average production-weighted decline rate is currently about 6.7% for fields that have passed their production peak, rising to 8.6% decline by 2030. World Energy Outlook 2008, OECD/IEA, 578 pp.

106 U.S. Crude Oil Field Production data, U.S. Energy Information Administration, (accessed March 31, 2010).

107 This paragraph drawn from remarks by James Schlesinger, p. 31, summary of the National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future, Washington, D.C., 2008.

108 This is not to suggest that these areas aren’t or won’t be developed. Turkmenistan, one of the last and most recent countries in the Caspian Sea region to be opened to foreign hydrocarbon development, had no fewer than fifteen petroleum companies seeking to launch activities in 2009, including China National Oil Corporation, Gazprom, Lukoil-ConocoPhillips, Midland Consortium, and Schlumberger, an oil field services company. Turkmenistan’s Crude Awakening: Oil, Gas and Environment in the South Caspian (Alexandria, Va.: Crude Accountability, 2009), 87 pp.

109 Drawn from remarks by former U.S. secretaries of energy James Schlesinger and Samuel Bodman to the National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future, Washington, D.C., 2008.

110 This model projection by the International Energy Agency was revised downward from earlier forecasts to account for the 2008 global economic slowdown. It assumes that oil prices will average $100 per barrel during 2008-2015, then steadily rise to $120 by 2030. World Energy Outlook 2008, OECD/IEA (2008), 578 pp.

111 D. Goodstein, Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2005), 148 pp.; M. Klare, Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict (New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2002), 304 pp.; and Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, reprint ed. (New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2009), 352 pp.; M. Simmons, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy (Somerset, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2005), 428 pp.

112 On average, postpeak oil field decline rates are 3.4% for supergiant fields, 6.5% for giant fields, and 10.4% for large fields, World Energy Outlook 2008, OECD/IEA (2008), 578 pp.

113 A successful Al Qaeda attack on the Abqaia facilities would have shocked world oil markets, as it handles two-thirds of the Saudi Arabian oil supply. National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future, Washington, D.C., 2008, p. 9.

114 There are major obstacles to a rapid transition to hydrogen fuel-cell cars, as will be described shortly.

115 Specifically from ozone and particulates. M. Jerrett et al., “Long-Term Ozone Exposure and Mortality,” New England Journal of Medicine 360 (2009): 1085-1095.

116 Only if the electricity supplying the grid comes from clean, renewable sources does the plug-in automotive fleet become pollution- and carbon-free. But depending on the efficiency of the coal- or gas-fired power plant, and how many miles the electricity travels over high-voltage lines, the net balance of this trade-off still generally comes down on the side of plug-in electrics. Also, it is more feasible to recapture pollution and greenhouse gases from hundreds of power station smokestacks than from millions of car tailpipes, particularly with regard to carbon capture and storage (CCS) schemes.

117 Hydrogen is highly reactive and thus quickly combines with other elements, for example with oxygen to make water (H2O).

118 Nearly all electric utility power is made using some outside source of energy to turn a mechanically rotating turbine, to spin a tightly wound coil of copper wire inside of a fixed magnetic field. This produces a flow of electrons in the copper wire that we call electricity. Windmills, hydroelectric dams, coal-fired power plants, and nuclear power plants all use variants of this basic idea to make electricity, the main difference between them being the source of energy used to spin the turbine. For example, heat generated by burning coal or from a controlled nuclear reaction can be used to boil water, producing pressurized steam, which passes over a turbine. Building a dam across a river creates an artificial waterfall, allowing the weight of water to fall upon turbines, and so on.

119 In hydrolysis, electricity is used to split water molecules into pure hydrogen and oxygen. It is a common way to obtain pure hydrogen.

120 In terms of radiative physics, tropospheric water vapor is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. However, owing to its short residence time in the atmosphere—on average just eleven days—it does not linger long before returning to the Earth’s surface. In contrast, carbon dioxide can persist in the atmosphere for centuries, so its concentration steadily accumulates over time.

121 Energy Technology Perspectives—Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (OECD/International Energy Agency, 2006), 483 pp.

122 Ethanol is more corrosive than gasoline, so engines running on 100% ethanol require specially resistant plastic and rubber components and hardened valve seats. It also has lower energy content than gasoline, so can yield lower mileage results relative to gasoline. However, owing to its high octane of 115, ethanol can be used as an octane enhancer in gasoline instead of groundwater-polluting MTBE. R. E. Sims et al., “Energy Crops: Current Status and Future Prospects,” Global Change Biology 12 (2006): 2054-2076.

123 Drawn from remarks by José Goldemberg, National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future, Washington, D.C., March 2008.

124 This forecast is not an extrapolation but is based on the number of ethanol plants licensed and under construction in Brazil, National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future, Washington, D.C., March 2008.

125 José Goldemberg, Suani Teixeira Coelho, Patricia Guardabassi, Sugarcane’s Energy: Twelve Studies on Brazilian Sugarcane Agribusiness and Its SustainabilityEnergy Policy 36, no. 6 (June 2008): 2086-2097. Multiple files available for free download from UNICA (Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) at; also personal interview with Dr. Matthew C. Nisbitt, Columbus, Ohio, April 18, 2008.

126 Fig. 7.3, summary from National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future, Washington, D.C., March 2008.

127 “Brazil Ethanol Sales Pass Petrol,” Sydney Morning Herald, December 31, 2008.

128 M. E. Himmel et al., “Biomass Recalcitrance: Engineering Plants and Enzymes for Biofuels Production,” Science 315 (2007): 804-807.

129 Ethanol studies are all over the map in terms of net greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits or penalties, hinging notably on whether or not “coproducts” are included in the accounting. When these factors are considered, the GHG benefits of corn ethanol over petroleum become negligible, about a 13% reduction when the benefits of coproducts are included. But ethanol produced from cellulosic material (switchgrass) reduces both GHGs and petroleum inputs substantially. A. E. Farrell et al, “Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals, Science 311 (2006): 506-508.

130 Drawn from remarks by José Goldemberg, National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future, Washington, D.C., March 2008.

131 C. Gautier, Oil, Water, and Climate: An Introduction (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 366 pp.

132 “Food Crisis Renews Haiti’s Agony,” Time, April 9, 2008; “Looters Running Wild in Haiti’s Food Riots,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 2008; “Hunger, Strikes, Riots: The Food Crisis Bites,” The Guardian, April 13, 2008; D. Loyn, “World Wakes Up to Food Challenge,” BBC News, October 15, 2008.

133 Provided that areas currently used for grazing are converted to agriculture, especially in South America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. E. M. W. Smeets et al., “A Bottom-Up Assessment and Review of Global Bio-energy Potentials to 2050,” Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 33 (2007): 56-106.

134 A. E. Farrell et al., “Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals,” Science 311 (2006): 506-508.

135 For example, advanced conversion technologies like enzymatic hydrolysis, and new yeasts and microorganisms to convert five-carbon sugars. Energy Technology Perspectives—Scenarios and Strategies to 2050, International Energy Agency (2006), 483 pp.

136 The ecological footprint is a measure of environmental impact converted to units of land area. Holden and Høyer calculate ecological footprints of four different energy regimes and found that hydropower reduces ecological footprint by -75%, natural gas by -45% to -75% (highest for fuel cells), and oil by -15% to -30%, but cellulosic (wood) biofuel by 0% to +50%. E. Holden and K. G. Høyer, “The Ecological Footprints of Fuels,” Transportation Research Part D 10 (2005): 395-403.

137 G. Fischer, L. Schrattenholzer, “Global Bioenergy Potentials through 2050,” Biomass and Bioenergy 20 (2001): 151-159; and Energy Technology Perspectives 2008: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050, OECD/International Energy Agency (2008), 643 pp.

138 Up to 26% liquid biofuels by 2050. Ibid.

139 Table 9.1, “Nuclear Generating Units, 1955-2007,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, (accessed March 11, 2009).

140 A. Petryna, Life Exposed: Biological Citizens after Chernobyl (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 264 pp.

141 The recovery workers now suffer a cancer rate several percent higher than normal, with up to four thousand additional people dying (over the expected one hundred thousand) by 2004. By 2002 about four thousand children had contracted thyroid cancer from drinking radioiodine-contaminated milk in the first months after the accident. The Chernobyl Forum: 2003-2005, “Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and SocioEconomic Impacts,” 2nd rev. ed. (Vienna: IAEA Division of Public Information, April 2006). Available from pdf. The Chernobyl Forum is an initiative of the IAEA, in cooperation with the WHO, UNDP, FAO, UNEP, UN-OCHA, UNSCEAR, the World Bank, and the governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine. The mortality figures in this report are decried by some as being too low, but this comprehensive UN-led effort does represent a conservative assessment of the disaster.

142 M. L. Wald, “After 30 Slow Years, U.S. Nuclear Industry Set to Build Plants Again,” International Herald Tribune, October 24, 2008; “EDF Nuclear Contamination,” The Economist, November 21, 2009, 65-66; “Obama offers loan guarantees for first new nuclear power reactors in three decades,” USA Today, February 16, 2010; S. Chu, “America’s New Nuclear Option: Small modular reactors will expand the ways we use atomic power,” The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2010. A record 62% of Americans surveyed in a March 2010 Gallup poll favored the use of nuclear power, the highest since Gallup began polling on the issue in 1994. “Public support for nuclear power at new peak,” The Washington Post, March 22, 2010.

143 The other being hydropower.

144 The white gas is water vapor, see note 120.

145 Energy Technology Perspectives: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (OECD/International Energy Agency, 2008), 643 pp.

146 S. Fetter, “Energy 2050,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (July/August 2000): 28-38.

147 Of particular promise are new “light water” reactors designed to be safer than today’s nuclear plants, with core-damage probabilities lower than one in a million reactor-years. Ibid.

148 Conventional meaning “once-through” nuclear reactors of one thousand megawatt capacity each, with no spent-fuel recycling, thorium, or breeder reactors. The Future of Nuclear Power: An Interdisciplinary MIT Study(Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003), 170 pp.

149 Global electricity production from nuclear power was 2,771 TWh/yr in 2005, capturing 15% market share. By 2050, based on a range of global decision scenarios modeled by the International Energy Agency, it could fall as low as 3,884 TWh/yr and 8% market share (“Baseline 2050” scenario, with few new reactors built) or rise to as much as 15,877 TWh/yr and 38% market share (“BLUE HiNUC” scenario, with maximum expansion of nuclear power). Table 2.5, Energy Technology Perspectives 2008: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (OECD/International Energy Agency, 2008), 643 pp.

150 Geothermal, ocean waves, and tidal energy are all carbon-free energy sources with high potential in certain places on Earth. However, none is foreseen as becoming more than a niche energy source by the year 2050.

151 Hydropower currently supplies about 2,922 TWh/yr, capturing 16% of the world electricity market. Based on a range of global decision scenarios modeled by the International Energy Agency, it will grow so slowly that it will actually lose market share, rising to between 4,590 TWh/yr and 9% market share (“Baseline 2050” scenario) to 5,505 TWh/yr and 13% market share by 2050 (“BLUE hiOil&Gas” scenario). Table 2.5, Energy Technology Perspectives 2008: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (OECD/International Energy Agency, 2008), 643 pp.

152 C. Goodall, Ten Technologies to Save the Planet (London: Green Profile, 2008), 302 pp.

153 As of 2006, Germany, the United States, and Spain were leading the world in wind power with 22,247, 16,818, and 15,145 megawatts installed capacity, respectively. India and China had 8,000 and 6,050 megawatts, respectively. The United States is now installing more turbines per year than any other country. Table 10.1, Energy Technology Perspectives 2008: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (OECD/International Energy Agency, 2008), 643 pp.

154 Technological advances, increased manufacturing capacity, and bigger turbines have helped to lower the cost of wind energy at least fourfold since the 1980s. Efficiency has steadily increased and the turbines themselves have become larger and taller, with mass-produced rotors growing from less than 20 meters in 1985 to >100 meters today, roughly the length of an American football field. While not yet price-competitive with coal or gas-fired power plants, wind-powered electricity is getting close.

155 Based on a range of global decision scenarios modeled by the International Energy Agency, global electricity production from wind power will rise from 111 TWh/yr and 1% market share in 2005 to at least 1,208 TWh/yr and 2% market share by 2050 (“Baseline 2050” scenario, with no new incentives), and could rise as high as 6,743 TWh/yr and 17% market share (“BLUE noCCS” scenario, with aggressive incentives and no established carbon sequestration technology). Table 2.5, Energy Technology Perspectives 2008: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (OECD/International Energy Agency, 2008), 643 pp.

156 The Shockley-Queisser limit.

157 N. S. Lewis, “Toward Cost-Effective Solar Energy Use,” Science 315 (2007): 798-801.

158 See note 118.

159 M. Lavelle, “Big Solar Project Planned for Arizona Desert,” U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 2008.

160 For more information visit the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC) home page,

161 See D. J. C. Mackay, Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air (Cambridge, UK: UIT Cambridge, Ltd., 2009), 370 pp., available for free download at C. Goodall estimates the cost for undersea HVDC cable between Norway and the Netherlands, completed April 2008, at €1 million per kilometer. Ten Technologies to Save the Planet (London: Green Profile, 2008), 302 pp.

162 CSP plants, because they use the traditional turbine method for electricity generation, can also be designed to burn natural gas or coal during nights and cloudy days.

163 A newer concept, called compressed-air storage, is to pump air, rather than water, into a tank or sealed underground cavern.

164 (accessed March 10, 2009).

165 Especially in thin-film photovoltaics and cheap catalysts, e.g., M. W. Kanan, D. G. Nocera, “In Situ Formation of an Oxygen-Evolving Catalyst in Neutral Water Containing Phosphate and Co2+,” Science 321 (2008): 1072-1075. According to the International Energy Agency the price of photovoltaic electricity in sunny climes could fall to $0.05 per kWh by 2050.

166 N. S. Lewis, “Toward Cost-Effective Solar Energy Use,” Science 315 (2007): 798-801.

167 C. Goodall, Ten Technologies to Save the Planet (London: Green Profile, 2008), 302 pp.

168 Based on a range of global decision scenarios modeled by the International Energy Agency, global solar electricity production will rise from 3 TWh/yr (virtually zero market share) in 2005 to 167 TWh/yr (still virtually zero market share) in 2050 (“Baseline 2050” scenario, with no new incentives), to as high as 5,297 TWh/yr and 13% market share by 2050 (“BLUE noCCS” scenario, with aggressive incentives and no established carbon sequestration technology). Table 2.5, Energy Technology Perspectives 2008: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (OECD/International Energy Agency, 2008), 643 pp.

169 Today, some 82% of the world’s electricity is made from nonrenewable coal (40%), natural gas (20%), uranium (15%), and oil (7%). Hydropower and all other renewables combined provide just 18%. Depending on our choices, they could rise to capture as much as 64% market share by 2050 (in an extremely aggressive scenario) or drop slightly to 15%. The true outcome will likely lie somewhere in between these IEA model simulations, but under no imaginable scenario will we free ourselves from fossil hydrocarbon energy in the next forty years.

170 Energy Technology Perspectives—Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (OECD/International Energy Agency, 2006), 479 pp.; and Table 2.5, Energy Technology Perspectives 2008: Scenarios and Strategies to 2050(OECD/International Energy Agency, 2008), 643 pp.

171 “Explosive Growth: LNG Expands in Australia,” The Economist, November 21, 2009, 66-67.

172 “BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2009,” 45 pp., (accessed November 28, 2009).

173 More precisely, 150 times current annual production for hard coal, and over 200 times annual production for lignite. T. Thielemann, S. Schmidt, J. P. Gerling, “Lignite and Hard Coal: Energy Suppliers for World Needs until the Year 2100—An Outlook,” International Journal of Coal Geology 72 (2007): 1-14.

174 Equivalent to five hundred 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants. J. Deutch, E. J. Moniz, I. Green et al, The Future of Coal: Options for a Carbon-Constrained World (Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007), 105 pp.

175 Fischer-Tropsch technology is one way to do this. Ibid.

176 L. C. Smith, G. A. Olyphant, “Within-Storm Variations in Runoff and Sediment Export from a Rapidly Eroding Coal-Refuse Deposit,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 19 (1994): 369-375.

177 C. Gautier, Oil, Water, and Climate: An Introduction (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 366 pp.

178 T. Thielemann, S. Schmidt, J. P. Gerling, “Lignite and Hard Coal: Energy Suppliers for World Needs until the Year 2100—An Outlook,” International Journal of Coal Geology 72 (2007): 1-14.

179 J. Deutch, E. J. Moniz, I. Green et al, The Future of Coal: Options for a Carbon-Constrained World (Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007), 105 pp.

180 “Trouble in Store,” The Economist, March 7, 2009, 74-75.

181 Iowa weather events reconstructed from personal interview with State Climatologist Harry Hillaker in Des Moines, July 16, 2008; also a written summary he prepared in December 2008; also press releases from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

182 “FEMA, Iowans Mark Six Month Anniversary of Historic Disaster,” Federal Emergency Management Agency, Press Release Number 1763-222, November 26, 2008.

183 “Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Officials Brief Rebuild Iowa Commission on Damage to Conservation Practices from Flooding,” press release, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, July 31, 2008.

184 D. Heldt, “University of Iowa’s New Flood Damage Estimate: $743 million,” The Gazette, March 13, 2009.

185 California Fire Siege 2007: An Overview, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 108 pp., (accessed March 22, 2009).

186 Executive Order S-06-08, signed June 4, 2008, by Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of the State of California.

187 Proclamation, “State of Emergency—Water Shortage,” issued February 27, 2009, by Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of the State of California.

188 J. McKinley, “Severe Drought Adds to Hardships in California,” The New York Times, February 22, 2009. The Central Valley has 4.7 million acres.

189 L. Copeland, “Drought Spreading in Southeast,” USA Today, February 12, 2008; D. Chapman, “Water Fight May Ripple in Georgia,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 24, 2008.

190 D. W. Stahle et al., “Early Twenty-first-Century Drought in Mexico,” Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 90, no. 11 (March 17, 2009).

191 Drought data from the University College London Global Drought Monitor, (accessed March 25, 2009).

192 UN Food and Agricultural Organization Global Information and Early Warning System (FAO/GIEWS), Crop Prospects and Food Situation, no. 2, April 2008. Updates posted bimonthly at

193 Severe drought hit 9.5 million hectares of winter wheat in Henan, Anhai, Shandong, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. UN FAO/GIEWS Global Watch, January 4, 2009.

194 “1,500 Farmers Commit Mass Suicide in India,” Belfast Telegraph, April 15, 2009.

195 Global flood inventory data downloaded from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory, (accessed March 25, 2009) indicate 4,553 fatalities and 17,487,312 people displaced between January 3 and November 4, 2008.

196 Water for Food, Water for Life: A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (London: Earthscan, and Colombo: International Water Management Institute, 2007), 665 pp.

197 I. A. Shiklomanov, “World Fresh Water Resources,” in P. H. Gleick, ed., Water in Crisis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 13-24. Note: It is necessary to cite all of I. A. Shiklomanov’s initials because he also produced two famous geoscientist sons—Alexander Igor and Nikolai Igor—leading to three Shiklomanovs in overlapping fields, creating much confusion for everyone.

198 Average annual water withdrawal estimated at 3,800 km3. O. Taikan, S. Kanael, “Global Hydrological Cycles and World Water Resources,” Science 313, no. 5790 (2006): 1068- 1072. For definitions of withdrawal vs. consumption, see note 227.

199 Global water withdrawal is thought to be about 3,800 km3 per year and global artificial storage capacity is about 7,200 km3. Ibid. For definitions, see note 225.

200 Table 2, “Food and Water,” World Resources 2008 Data Tables (Washington, D.C.: World Resources Institute, 2008).

201 Based on 2010 and 2050 population projections for Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision

202 The Central Arizona Project.

203 R. G. Glennon, Water Follies (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, USA, 2002), 314 pp.

204 Note that in the United States, however, the trend over the last ~40 years has been declining total water consumption (not just per capita), owing to declining industrial use, as well as more efficient agricultural practices, appliances, low flush toilets, and higher density housing.

205 C. J. Vörösmarty, P. Green, J. Salisbury, R. B. Lammers, “Global Water Resources: Vulnerability from Climate Change and Population Growth,” Science 289, no. 5477 (2000): 284-288. The study identifies “severe” water stress as areas where the ratio of human water withdrawal to available river discharge is 0.4 or higher. The described three maps are found in Figure 3 of this paper. They are slightly deceptive in places like the western United States, where the source areas of water (e.g., mountain snowpack) differ from where the water is used (e.g., Tucson, Los Angeles, etc).

206 E.g., “Impending global-scale changes in population and economic development,” the authors conclude, “will dictate the future . . . to a much greater degree than will changes in mean climate.” Ibid.

207 Piped, protected wells or springs, rainwater cisterns, or boreholes.

208 Ethiopians (22%), Somalians (29%), Afghanis and Papua New Guineans (39%), Cambodians (41%), Chadians (42%), Equatorial Guineans and Mozambicans (43%). Data Table 3, P. H. Gleick et al., The World’s Water 2008-2009 (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2009), 432 pp.

209 J. Bartram, K. Lewis, R. Lenton, A. Wright, “Focusing on Improved Water and Sanitation for Health,” The Lancet 365, no. 9461 (2005): 810-812.

210 M. Barlow, Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water (New York: The New Press, 2003), 296 pp.; Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (New York: The New Press, 2007), 196 pp.

211 Mission statement of the World Water Council, (accessed April 5, 2009).

212 A good account of these battles is the award-winning documentary Flow (2008),

213 P. 189, UN World Water Assessment Programme, The United Nations World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World (Paris: UNESCO, and London: Earthscan, 2009), 318 pp.

214 Virtually all countries negotiate water-sharing agreements for transboundary rivers crossing their borders. For emerging ideas on how satellites could change the game, see D. E. Alsdorf et al., “Measuring Surface Water from Space,” Reviews of Geophysics 45, no. 2, article no. RG2002 (2007); D. E. Alsdorf et al., “Measuring global oceans and terrestrial freshwater from space,” Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 88, no. 24 (2007): 253; F. Hossain, “Introduction to the Featured Series on Satellites and Transboundary Water: Emerging Ideas,” Journal of the American Water Resources Association 45, no. 3 (2009): 551-552; S. Biancamaria et al., “Preliminary Characterization of SWOT Hydrology Error Budget and Global Capabilities,” IEEE JSTARS 3, no. 1 (2010): 6-19.

215 The Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite will also measure oceans. It is a joint venture between the space agencies of the United States and France (NASA and CNES).For more, see

216 E.g., global topography data from SRTM ( and ASTER (; global image data from Landsat (; and many others.

217 D. Ignatius, “The Climate-Change Precipice,” The Washington Post, March 2, 2007; F. Al-Obaid, “Water Scarcity and Resource War,” Kuwait Times, March 9, 2008; H. A. Amery, “Water Wars in the Middle East: A Looming Threat, The Geographical Journal 168, no. 4 (2002): 313-23; N. L. Poff et al., “River Flows and Water Wars: Emerging Science for Environmental Decision Making,” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1, no. 6 (2003): 298-306; and others.

218 P. 19, UN World Water Assessment Programme, The United Nations World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World (Paris: UNESCO, and London: Earthscan, 2009), 318 pp.

219 P. 163, M. Klare, Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict (New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2002), 304 pp.

220 Ibid., p. 139.

221 Between 1948 and 1999 there were 1,831 interactions between countries over water resources, ranging from verbal exchanges to written agreements to military activity. Of these, 67% were cooperative, 28% conflictive, and 5% neutral or insignificant. There were no formal declarations of war made specifically over water. W. Barnaby, “Do Nations Go to War over Water?” Nature 458 (2009): 282-283; other material drawn from S. Yoffe et al., Journal of the American Water Resources Association 39 (2003): 1109-1126; A. T. Wolf, “Shared Waters: Conflict and Cooperation,” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 32 (2007): 241-69.

222 See and and

223 J. I. Uitto, A. T. Wolf, “Water Wars? Geographical Perspectives: Introduction,” The Geographical Journal 168, no. 4 (2002): 289-292; T. Jarvis et al., “International Borders, Ground Water Flow, and Hydroschizophrenia,” Ground Water 43, no. 5 (2005): 764-770.

224 W. Barnaby, “Do Nations Go to War over Water?” Nature 458 (2009): 282-283.

225 Water “withdrawal” refers to the gross amount of water extracted from any source in the natural environment for human purposes. Water “consumption” refers to that part of water withdrawn that is evaporated, transpired, incorporated into products or crops, consumed by humans or livestock, or otherwise removed from the immediate water environment. Global “blue water” withdrawals from rivers, reservoirs, lakes, and aquifers are estimated at 3,830 cubic kilometers, of which 2,664 cubic kilometers are used for agriculture. Pp. 67-69, Water for Food, Water for Life: A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (London: Earthscan, and Colombo: International Water Management Institute, 2007), 665 pp.

226 The term virtual water was coined by J. A. Allan in the early 1990s, e.g., “Policy Responses to the Closure of Water Resources,” in Water Policy: Allocation and Management in Practice , P. Howsam, R. Carter, eds. (London: Chapman and Hall, 1996).

227 The global transfer of virtual water embedded within commodities is estimated at 1,625 billion cubic meters per year, about 40% of total human water consumption. A. K. Chapagain, A. Y. Hoekstra, “The Global Component of Freshwater Demand and Supply: An Assessment of Virtual Water Flows between Nations as a Result of Trade in Agricultural and Industrial Products,” Water International 33, no. 1 (2008): 19-32. See also pp. 35 and 98, UN World Water Assessment Programme, The United Nations World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World (Paris: UNESCO, and London: Earthscan, 2009), 318 pp.

228 R. G. Glennon, Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2002), 314 pp. Windmills and other early technology could lift water from a maximum depth of only seventy to eighty feet, but the centrifugal pump, powered by diesel, natural gas, or electricity, could lift water from depths as great as three thousand feet.

229 Figure 7.6, UN World Water Assessment Programme, The United Nations World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World (Paris: UNESCO, and London: Earthscan, 2009), 318 pp.

230 U.S. Geological Survey, “Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2000,” USGS Circular 1268, February 2005.

231 Other materials can also make good aquifers, for example gravel or highly fractured bedrock.

232 See M. Rodell, I. Velicogna and J. S. Famiglietti, “Satellite-based Estimates of Groundwater Depletion in India,” Nature 460 (2009): 999-1002, DOI:10.1038/nature08238; and V. M. Tiwari, J. Wahr, and S. Swenson, “Dwindling Groundwater Resources in Northern India, from Satellite Gravity Observations,” Geophysical Research Letters 36 (2009), L18401, DOI:10.1029/2009GL039401.

233 Also known as the High Plains Aquifer, the Ogallala underlies parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Other material in this section drawn from V. L. McGuire, “Changes in Water Levels and Storage in the High Plains Aquifer, Predevelopment to 2005,” U.S. Geological Society Fact Sheet 2007-3029, May 2007.

234 Human drawdown averages around one foot per year, but natural replenishment is less than an inch per year. Telephone interview with Kevin Mulligan, April 21, 2009.

235 “Useful lifetime” is projected time left until the saturated aquifer thickness falls to just thirty feet. When the aquifer is thinner than thirty feet, conventional wells start sucking air, owing to a thirty-foot cone of depression that forms in the water table around the borehole. The described GIS data and useful lifetime maps for the Ogallala are found at

236 LEPA drip irrigation systems create a smaller cone of depression, allowing water to be sucked from the last thirty feet of remaining aquifer saturated thickness. Therefore a switch to LEPA can prolong the usable aquifer lifetime another ten to twenty years, but cannot stop the outcome.

237 Notably the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Austria. P. H. Gleick, “Water and Energy,” Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 19 (1994): 267-299. This is not to say all of the water used is irrevocably lost; most power plants return most of the heated water back to the originating river or lake. See note 225 for withdrawal vs. consumption.

238 This is the legal maximum in the European Union, but recommended “guideline” temperatures are lower, around 12-15 degrees Celsius in the EU and Canada. Ibid.

239 See also his book on wind power. M. Pasqualetti, P. Gipe, R. Righter, Wind Power in View: Energy Landscapes in a Crowded World (San Diego: Academic Press, 2002), 248 pp.

240 The reason for this is the very large water losses that evaporate from the open reservoirs behind hydroelectric dams.

241 For example, see P. W. Gerbens-Leenes, A. Y. Hoekstra, T. H. van der Meer, “The Water Footprint of Energy from Biomass: A Quantitative Assessment and Consequences of an Increasing Share of Bio-energy in Energy Supply,” Ecological Economics 68 (2009): 1052-1060.

242 Telephone interview with M. Pasqualetti, April 14, 2009.

243 T. R. Curlee, M. J. Sale, “Water and Energy Security,” Proceedings, Universities Council on Water Resources, 2003.

244 For climate model simulations of Hadley Cell expansion, see J. Lu, G. A. Vecchi, T. Reichler, “Expansion of the Hadley Cell under Global Warming,” Geophysical Research Letters 34 (2007): L06085; for direct observations from satellites, see Q. Fu, C. M. Johanson, J. M. Wallace, T. Reichler, “Enhanced Mid-latitude Tropospheric Warming in Satellite Measurements,” Science 312, no. 5777 (2006): 1179.

245 P. C. D. Milly, K. A. Dunne, A. V. Vecchia, “Global Pattern of Trends in Streamflow and Water Availability in a Changing Climate,” Nature 438 (2005): 347-350.

246 G. M. MacDonald et al., “Southern California and the Perfect Drought: Simultaneous Prolonged Drought in Southern California and the Sacramento and Colorado River Systems,” Quaternary International 188 (2008): 11-23.

247 The medieval warming was triggered by increased solar output combined with low levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere, whereas today the driver is greenhouse gas forcing. The comparison between the medieval warm period and today is imperfect because the former saw temperatures rise most in summer, whereas greenhouse gas forcing causes maximum warming in winter and spring. Still, the medieval warm period is the best “real world” climate analog scientists have for examining possible biophysical responses to projected greenhouse warming. For more, see G. M. MacDonald et al., “Climate Warming and Twenty-first Century Drought in Southwestern North America,” EOS, Transactions, AGU 89 no. 2 (2008). For more on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, see G. M. MacDonald and R. A. Case, “Variations in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation over the Past Millennium,” Geophysical Research Letters 32, article no. L08703 (2005), DOI:10.1029/2005GL022478.

248 R. Seager et al., “Model Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in Southwestern North America,” Science 316 (2007): 1181-1184.

249 P. C. D. Milly, J. Betancourt, M. Falkenmark, R. M. Hirsch, Z. W. Kundzewicz, D. P. Lettenmaier, R. J. Stouffer, “Stationarity Is Dead: Whither Water Management?” Science 319 (2008): 573-574.

250 The confusion arises from the fact that the “hundred-year flood,” “five-hundred-year flood,” etc., are simply statistical probabilities expressed as a flood height. This leads the common misperception that a hundred-year flood happens only once every hundred years, a five-hundred-year flood happens only once every five hundred years, and so on. In fact, the probability is 1/100 and 1/500 in any given year. The likelihood of enjoying a hundred consecutive years without suffering at least one hundred-year flood is just (99/100)100 = 37%.

251 For example, it now appears likely that climate change will increase risk uncertainty with crop yields. B. A. McCarl, X. Villavicencio, X. Wu, “Climate Change and Future Analysis: Is Stationarity Dying?” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 90, no. 5 (2008): 1241-1247.

252 P. C. D. Milly, J. Betancourt, M. Falkenmark, R. M. Hirsch, Z. W. Kundzewicz, D. P. Lettenmaier, R. J. Stouffer, “Stationarity Is Dead: Whither Water Management?” Science 319 (2008): 573-574.

253 D. P. Lettenmaier, “Have We Dropped the Ball on Water Resources Research?” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 134, no. 6 (2008): 491-492.

254 The company, State Farm Florida, sent cancellation notices to nearly a fifth of its 714,000 customers after failing to win a 47.1% rate hike from state regulators. In the same year Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation projected that 102 of the 200 largest Florida insurance carriers were running net underwriting losses. “State Farm Cancels Thousands in Florida,” February 23, 2010,

255 P. W. Mote et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 86, no. 1 (2005): 39-49.

256 T. P. Barnett et al., “Human-Induced Changes in the Hydrology of the Western United States,” Science 319 (2008): 1080-1083.

257 J. Watts, “China Plans 59 Reservoirs to Collect Meltwater from Its Shrinking Glaciers,” The Guardian, March 2, 2009; “Secretary Salazar, Joined by Gov. Schwarzenegger, to Announce Economic Recovery Investments in Nation’s Water Infrastructure,” U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Press Release, April 14, 2009; “California to Get $260 Million in U.S. Funds for Water,” Reuters, April 15, 2009.

258 Melting glacier ice and the thermal expansion of ocean water as it warms are the two most important contributors to sea-level rise. Thermal expansion of ocean water is a relatively sluggish process that is still responding to warming of past decades and will continue in response to more warming in the pipeline. To date, roughly 80% of the heat from climate warming has been absorbed by oceans. A very recent post-IPCC study estimates that over the period 1900-2008 thermal expansion caused 0.4 ± 0.2 mm/yr of sea-level rise, small glaciers and ice caps 0.96 ± 0.44 mm/yr, the Greenland Ice Sheet 0.3 ± 0.33 mm/ yr, the Antarctic Ice Sheet 0.14 ± 0.26 mm/yr, and terrestrial runoff 0.17 ± 0.1 mm/yr. C. Shum, C. Kuo, “Observation and Geophysical Causes of Present-day Sea Level Rise,” in Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia, ed., R. Lal, M. Sivakumar, S. M. A. Faiz, A. H. M. Mustafizur Rahman, K. R. Islam (Springer Verlaag, Holland: in press). Construction of twentieth-century impoundments may have trapped back ~30 mm sea level equivalent in total, an average of -0.55 mm/yr. B. F. Chao, Y. H. Wu, and Y. S. Li, “Impact of artificial reservoir water impoundment on global sea level,” Science 320 (2008): 212-214. However, the trapping effect of human impoundments has since slowed or even reversed. D. P. Lettenmaier, P. C. D. Milly, “Land Waters and Sea Level,” Nature Geoscience 2 (2009): 452-454, DOI:10.1038/ngeo567.

259 S. Rahmstorf et al., Response to Comments on “A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise,” Science 317, 1866d (2007). (See erratum for updated sea-level rise rates.)

260 M. Heberger, H. Cooley, P. Herrera, P. H. Gleick, E. Moore, “The Impacts of Sea-Level Rise on the California Coast,” Final Paper, California Climate Change Center, CEC-500-2009-024-F (2009), 115 pp., available at

261 The 2007 IPCC AR4 “consensus estimate” of 0.18 to 0.6 meters by 2100 may be too low. Other estimates suggest a possible range of 0.8-2.0 meters (W. T. Pfeffer et al., “Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise,” Science 321, no. 5894 2008: 1340-1343) and 0.5-1.4 meters (S. Rahmstorf, “A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise,” Science 315, no. 5810 [2007]: 368-370, DOI:10.1126/science.1135456.)

262 The main reason for this is that hurricanes and typhoons are fueled by sea surface temperatures. The Fourth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates their intensity is “likely” to increase, meaning a >66% statistical probability. IPCC AR4 (2007).

263 Calculated from Table 2 of R. J. Nicholls et al., “Ranking Port Cities with High Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Extremes: Exposure Estimates,” OECD Environment Working Papers, no. 1 (OECD Publishing, 2008), 62 pp., DOI:10.1787/011766488208. See also J. P. Ericson et al., “Effective Sea-Level Rise and Deltas: Causes of Change and Human Dimension Implications,” Global and Planetary Change 50 (2006): 63-82.

264 Monetary amounts are in international 2001 U.S. dollars using purchasing power parities. Ibid.

265 Short for “Water Global Assessment and Prognosis.” See Center for Environmental Systems Research,

266 The climate-change component of this particular simulation is from the HadCM3 circulation model assuming a B2 SRES scenario. For more on other, nonclimatic assumptions, see Alcamo, M. Flörke, and M. Marker, “Future Long-term Changes in Global Water Resources Driven by Socio-economic and Climatic Changes,” Hydrological Sciences 52, no. 2 (2007): 247-275.

267 P. Alpert et al., “First Super-High-Resolution Modeling Study that the Ancient ‘Fertile Crescent’ Will Disappear in This Century and Comparison to Regional Climate Models,” Geophysical Research Abstracts 10, EGU2008-A-02811 (2008); A. Kitoh et al., “First Super-High-Resolution Model Projection that the Ancient ‘Fertile Crescent’ Will Disappear in This Century,” Hydrological Research Letters 2 (2008): 1-4.

268 T. H. Brikowski, “Doomed Reservoirs in Kansas, USA? Climate Change and Groundwater Mining on the Great Plains Lead to Unsustainable Surface Water Storage,” Journal of Hydrology 354 (2008): 90-101; S. K. Gupta and R. D. Deshpande, “Water for India in 2050: First-Order Assessment of Available Options,” Current Science 86, no. 9 (2004): 1216-1224.

269 Global climate models almost unanimously project that human-induced climate change will reduce runoff in the Colorado River region by 10%-30%. T. P. Barnett., D. W. Pierce, “Sustainable Water Deliveries from the Colorado River in a Changing Climate,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106, no. 18 (2009), DOI:10.1073/pnas.0812762106. See also T. P. Barnett D. W. Pierce, “When Will Lake Mead Go Dry?” Water Resources Research44 (2008), W03201.

270 This is not necessarily so dire as it sounds. Water rights are about withdrawals, not consumptive use, so some share of the withdrawn water is recycled and returned to the river system, allowing it to be reused again downstream.

271 J. L. Powell, Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West (London: University of California Press, 2008), 283 pp.

272 The 2003 pact, called the Quantification Settlement Agreement, also requires the Imperial Irrigation District to sell up to 100,000 acre-feet to the cities of the Coachella Valley. California’s total Colorado River allocation is 4.4 million acre-feet per year. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California serves twenty-six cities. Press releases of the Imperial Irrigation District, November 10, 2003, and April 30, 2009 (; also M. Gardner, “Water Plan to Let MWD Buy Salton Sea Source,” Union-Tribune,, April 6, 2009.

273 Unlike water vapor, which is quickly recycled, other greenhouse gases tend to linger longer in the atmosphere, especially CO2, which can persist for centuries. S. Solomon et al., “Irreversible Climate Change Due to Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” PNAS 106, no. 6 (2009): 1704-1709. About half will disappear quite quickly and some 15% will stick around even longer, but on balance carbon dioxide persists in the atmosphere for a very long time.

274 More precisely, volcanic eruptions release sulfur dioxide gas (SO2), which oxidizes to sulphate aerosols (SO4). If aerosols penetrate the stratosphere, they can circulate globally for several years, creating brilliant sunsets and blocking sunlight to create a temporary climate cooling.

275 Some of these mechanisms can persist for several decades, especially long-lived ocean circulation phenomena like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, e.g., G. M. MacDonald and R. A. Case, “Variations in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation over the Past Millennium,” Geophysical Research Letters 32, article no. L08703, DOI:10.1029/2005GL022478 (2005).

276 By averaging model simulations over a twenty-year period (2046-2064), this map smooths out most of the short-term variability described earlier, thus revealing the strength of the underlying greenhouse effect. Yet even after this smoothing process, we still find a geographically uneven pattern of warming. For map source see next endnote.

277 IPCC AR4, Figure 10.8, Chapter 10, p. 766 (Full citation: G. A. Meehl et al., Chapter 10, “Global Climate Projections,” in S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K. B. Averyt, M. Tignor, H. L. Miller, eds., Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007). See Chapter 1 for more on the IPCC Assessment Reports.

278 These outcomes are called SRES scenarios, of which three are shown here (i.e., each row is a different SRES scenario). There are many economic, social, and political choices contained within different SRES scenarios, but the differences are not important for our purposes here. SRES refers to the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. They are grouped into four families (A1, A2, B1, and B2) exploring alternative development pathways, covering a wide range of demographic, economic, and technological driving forces and resultant greenhouse gas emissions. B1 describes a convergent, globalized world with a rapid transition toward a service and information economy. The A1 family assumes rapid economic growth, a global population that peaks around 2050, and rapidly advancing energy technology, with A1B assuming a balance between fossil and nonfossil energy. A2 describes a nonglobalized world with high population growth, slow economic development, and slow technological change. For more, see N. Nakicenovic, R. Swart, eds., Special Report on Emissions Scenarios: A Special Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 570 pp.

279 The three SRES scenarios shown, which I have renamed for clarity, are B1, A1B, and A2, respectively. There are a number of other scenarios but these three illustrate a representative cross-section from the IPCC AR4 Assessment.

280 P.217, R. Henson, The Rough Guide to Climate Change (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 2008).

281 These are discussed further in Chapter 9.

282 Projected temperature increases average about 50% higher over land than over oceans. The stubborn bull’s-eye marks where warm, north-flowing waters of the Meridional Overturning Current (MOC)—also known as the North Atlantic Deep Water Formation (NADW)—cool and sink. Weakened MOC overturning is expected to counter the climate warming effect locally in this area. There are other physical reasons why the warming effect is amplified in the high northern latitudes, including low evaporation rate, a thinner atmosphere, and reduced albedo (reflectivity) over land. But the most important reason by far is the disappearance of sea ice over the Arctic Ocean, changing it from a high-albedo surface that reflects incoming sunlight back out to space to an open ocean that absorbs it.

283 E.g., Figure 10.12, IPCC AR4, Chapter 10, p. 769. The models also concur pretty well in the Mediterranean region, southern South America, and the western United States, where precipitation is projected to decrease. They concur well around the equator, over the southern oceans around Antarctica, and throughout the northern high latitudes, where it is projected to increase. Except for Canada’s western prairies, precipitation is projected to rise significantly across the northern territories and oceans of all eight NORC countries.

284 Among other things the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, i.e., a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor.

285 The 2050 projections are from P. C. D. Milly et al., “Global Pattern of Trends in Streamflow and Water Availability in a Changing Climate,” Nature 438 (2005): 347-350. That the projected northern runoff increases surpass all bounds of natural climate variability is shown by Hulme et al., “Relative Impacts of Human-Induced Climate Change and Natural Climate Variability,” Nature 397, no. 6721 (1999): 688-691. The twentieth-century river discharge increases appeared first and most strongly in Russia, B. J. Peterson et al., “Increasing River Discharge to the Arctic Ocean,” Science 298, no. 5601 (2003): 2171-2173; J. W. McClelland et al., “A Pan-Arctic Evaluation of Changes in River Discharge during the Latter Half of the Twentieth Century,” Geophysical Research Letters 33, no. 6 (2006): L06715. In Canada, runoff experienced late-century declines in total runoff to Hudson’s Bay but increases in the Northwest Territories. S. J. Déry, “Characteristics and Trends of River Discharge into Hudson, James, and Ungava Bays, 1964-2000,” Journal of Climate 18, no. 14 (2005): 2540-2557; J. M. St. Jacques, D. J. Sauchyn, “Increasing Winter Base-flow and Mean Annual Streamflow from Possible Permafrost Thawing in the Northwest Territories, Canada,” Geophysical Research Letters 36 (2009): L01401. An excellent recent synopsis is A. K. Rennermalm, E. F. Wood, T. J. Troy, “Observed Changes of Pan-Arctic Cold-Season Minimum Monthly River Discharge,” Climate Dynamics, DOI: 10.888/1748-9326 /4/2/024011.

286 L. C. Smith et al., “Rising Minimum Daily Flows in Northern Eurasian Rivers: A Growing Influence of Groundwater in the High-Latitude Hydrologic Cycle,” Journal of Geophysical Research 112, G4, (2007): G04S47.

287 Ice caps are large glacier masses on land. Unlike Antarctica, a continent buried beneath mile-thick glaciers and surrounded by oceans, the Arctic is an ocean surrounded by continents. It is thinly covered with just one to two meters of seasonally frozen ocean water called “sea ice.”

288 The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, which convenes each December in San Francisco, California.

289 The Arctic Ocean freezes over completely in winter but partially opens in summer. The annual sea-ice minimum occurs in September.

290 By September 2009 sea-ice cover was nearing recovery to its old trajectory of linear decline. However, the extreme reductions of 2007-2009 were a major excursion from the long-term trend and clearly demonstrate the surprising rapidity with which the Arctic’s summer sea-ice cover can disappear.

291 Unlike land-based glaciers, the formation or melting of sea ice does not significantly raise sea level because the volume of buoyant ice is compensated by the volume of water displaced (Archimedes’ Principle). A slight exception (about 4%) to this does arise because sea ice is fresher than the ocean water it is displacing (thus taking up slightly more volume than the equivalent mass of sea water).

292 This albedo feedback works in the opposite direction, too, by amplifying global cooling trends. If global climate cools, then Arctic sea ice expands, reflecting more sunlight, thus causing more local cooling and more sea-ice formation, and so on.

293 Sea ice does form around the edge of the Antarctic continent, but its areal extent is much less than in the Arctic Ocean and it does not survive the summer. Other reasons for the warming contrast between the Arctic and Antarctica include the strong circumpolar vortex around the southern oceans, which divorce Antarctica somewhat from the global atmospheric circulation, and the cold high elevations of interior Antarctica, where air temperatures will never reach the melting point, unlike the Arctic Ocean, which is at sea level.

294 The sea-ice albedo feedback is the most important factor causing the global climate warming signal to be amplified in the northern high latitudes, but there are also others. Reduced albedo over land (from less snow), a thinner atmosphere, and low evaporation in cold Arctic air are some of the other positive warming feedbacks operating in the region. The transition to a new summertime ice-free state is likely to happen rapidly once the ice pack thins to a vulnerable state. M. C. Serreze, M. M. Holland, J. Stroeve, “Perspectives on the Arctic’s Shrinking Sea-Ice Cover,” Science 315, no. 5815 (2007): 1533-1536. Not all northern albedo feedbacks are positive—for example, more forest fires, an expected consequence of rising temperatures, actually raise albedo over the long term. E. A. Lyons, Y. Jin, J. T. Randerson, “Changes in Surface Albedo after Fire in Boreal Forest Ecosystems of Interior Alaska Assessed Using MODIS Satellite Observations,” Journal of Geophysical Research 113: (2008) G02012.

295 Based on projections of the NCAR CCSM3 climate model. You can view these results in D. M. Lawrence, A. G. Slater, R. A. Tomas, M. M. Holland, and C. Deser, “Accelerated Arctic Land Warming and Permafrost Degradation during Rapid Sea Ice Loss,” Geophysical Research Letters 35, no. 11, (2008): L11506, DOI:10.1029/2008GL033985.

296 Hill and Gaddy use the term Siberian Curse to argue that Soviet planners shortchanged their country economically by seeking to develop its cold hinterlands. I am co-opting the term here to more broadly include biological factors as well. F. Hill and C. Gaddy, The Siberian Curse (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2003), 303 pp.

297 This summary drawn from Chapter 2, “Arctic Climate: Past and Present,” of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 1,042 pp.; and Working Group II Report, Chapter 15, “Polar Regions,” of the IPCC AR4 (2007). See also S. J. Déry, R. D. Brown, “Recent Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Extent Trends and Implications for the Snow-Albedo Feedback,” Geophysical Research Letters 34, no. 22 (2007): L22504. Much of the observed warming is not caused by greenhouse forcing directly, but instead to atmospheric circulation changes, suggesting that the Arctic is just in the early stages of the human-induced greenhouse gas signature. M. C. Serreze, J. A. Francis, “The Arctic Amplification Debate,” Climatic Change 76 (2006): 241-264.

298 For example, a +8% increase in peak greenness north of 65° N latitude from 1982 to 1990; a +17% increase in northern Alaska from 1981 to 2001. R. Myneni et al., “Increased Plant Growth in the Northern Latitudes from 1982 to 1991,” Nature 386 (1997): 698-702; G. J. Jia, H. E. Epstein, D. A. Walker, “Greening of Arctic Alaska, 1981-2001,” Geophysical Research Letters 30, no. 20 (2003): 2067; also M. Sturm, C. Racine, K. Tape, “Climate Change: Increasing Shrub Abundance in the Arctic,” Nature 411 (2001): 546-547; I. Gamach, S. Payette, “Height Growth Response of Tree Line Black Spruce to Recent Climate Warming across the Forest-Tundra of Eastern Canada,” Journal of Ecology 92 (2004): 835-845.

299 Arctic-wide average net primary productivity is forecast to rise from 2.8 to 4.9 Pg C/year by the 2080s under the “optimistic” IPCC B2 scenario, Table 7.13, ACIA (2005).

300 This paragraph and others drawn from personal interviews and anecdotes collected 2006/2007 throughout Canada, Alaska, and Finland, including Fort Chipewyan, Fort McMurray, Cumberland House, Whitehorse, High Level, Hay River, Yellowknife, Churchill, Fairbanks, and Barrow. Also G. Beaugrand et al., “Reorganization of North Atlantic Marine Copepod Biodiversity and Climate,” Science 296 (2002): 1692-1694; A. L. Perry et al., “Climate Change and Distribution Shifts in Marine Fishes,” Science 308 (2005): 1912-1915; N. S. Morozov, “Changes in the Timing of Migration and Winter Records of the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) in the Central Part of European Russia: The Effect of Global Warming?” Zoologichesky Zhurnal 86, no. 11 (2007): 1336-1355; G. Jansson, A. Pehrson, “The Recent Expansion of the Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) in Sweden with Possible Implications to the Mountain Hare (L. timidus),” European Journal of Wildlife Research 53 (2007): 125-130; N. H. Ogden, “Climate Change and the Potential for Range Expansion of the Lyme Disease Vector Ixodes scapularis in Canada,” International Journal for Parasitology 36, no. 1 (2006): 63-70; S. Sharma et al., “Will Northern Fish Populations Be in Hot Water Because of Climate Change?” Global Change Biology 13 (2007): 2052-2064; S. Jarema et al., “Variation in Abundance across a Species’ Range Predicts Climate Change Responses in the Range Interior Will Exceed Those at the Edge: A Case Study with North American Beaver,” Global Change Biology 15 (2009): 508-522.

301 Cartoons and children’s books that show penguins and polar bears coexisting together perpetuate a widespread myth about their geographic distribution. Polar bears are found only in the far northern hemisphere. Penguins are found only in the southern hemisphere. Unlike the Arctic, with its bears, foxes, and humans, there are no land-based predators in Antarctica. This is why penguins and elephant seals are fearless of humans whereas ringed seals are not.

302 These events happened in 2004. S. C. Amstrup et al., “Recent Observations of Intraspecific Predation and Cannibalism among Polar Bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea,” Polar Biology 29 (2006): 997-1002. Increasing polar bear interaction with human settlements is described by I. Stirling, Parkinson, “Possible Effects of Climate Warming on Selected Populations of Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Canadian Arctic,” Arctic 59, no. 3 (2006): 261-275; also E. V. Regehr et al., “Effects of Earlier Sea Ice Breakup on Survival and Population Size of Polar Bears in Western Hudson Bay,” Journal of Wildlife Management 71 (2007): 2673-2683. For more on projected future declines in polar bear sea-ice habitat, see G. M. Durner et al., “Predicting 21st-Century Polar Bear Habitat Distribution from Global Climate Models,” Ecological Monographs 79, no. 1 (2009): 25-58.

303 S. C. Amstrup et al., Forecasting the Range-wide Status of Polar Bears at Selected Times in the 21st Century: Administrative Report to Support U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Polar Bear Listing Decision (Reston, Va.: U.S. Department of the Interior/U.S. Geological Survey, 2007), 126 pp.

304 C. D. Thomas et al., “Extinction Risk from Climate Change,” Nature 427 (2004): 145-148. The IPCC AR4 similarly estimates a 20%-30% species extinction for a global temperature rise of 1.5°-2.5°C.

305 For example, since the early twentieth century the western United States has suffered a 73% loss in the coverage area of alpine tundra. H. F. Diaz et al., “Disappearing ‘Alpine Tundra’ Koppen Climatic Type in the Western United States,” Geophysical Research Letters 34, no. 18 (2007): L18707. Under the high-end A2 emissions scenario, 12%-39% and 10%-48% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface is projected to experience novel and disappearing climates by 2100 A.D.; corresponding projections for the low-end B1 scenario are 4%-20% and 4%-20%. J. W. Williams et al., “Projected Distributions of Novel and Disappearing Climates by 2100 A.D.,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, no. 14 (2007): 5738-5742.

306 Note that I said least disturbed, not undisturbed. The myth of a pristine North is exposed in Chapter 7.

307 More precisely, up to 44% of all species of vascular plants and 35% of all species in four vertebrate groups. N. Myers et al., “Biodiversity Hotspots for Conservation Priorities,” Nature 403 (2000): 853-858, DOI:10.1038/35002501. Seven million is a conservative estimate and refers to eukaryotes, meaning species generally recognized as plants or animals but excluding things like bacteria.

308 Owing to increased forest disturbance from insect pests and wildfires, e.g., Gillett et al., “Detecting the Effect of Climate Change on Canadian Forest Fires,” Geophysical Research Letters 31 (2004): L18211; E. S. Kasischke, M. R. Turetsky, “Recent Changes in the Fire Regime across the North American Boreal Region—Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Burning across Canada and Alaska,” Geophysical Research Letters 33 (2006): L09703.

309 From personal interviews with Ron Brower of Barrow, Alaska, August 9, 2006; Mayor E. Sheutiapik of Iqualuit, Nunavut, August 5, 2007; Mayor E. Kavo and J. Meeko of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, August 7, 2007.

310 Personal interview with Ron Brower, Barrow, Alaska, August 9, 2006.

311 Drawn from J. Painter, “Greenland Sees Bright Side of Warming,” BBC News, September 14, 2007; C. Woodward, “Global Warming Is a Boon for Farmers and Fishermen but a Hardship for Ice-Dependent Inuit,” Christian Science Monitor, October 1, 2007; and “Greenlandic Super Potatoes,” The Copenhagen Post, May 18, 2009.

312 Workshop on Conservation of Crop Genetic Resources in the Face of Climate Change, Bellagio, Italy, September 3-6, 2007.

313 More specifically South Asia wheat, Southeast Asia rice, and southern Africa corn. The editors of Science must have also been impressed, as the research appeared there five months later. D. B. Lobell, M. B. Burke et al., “Prioritizing Climate Change Adaptation Needs for Food Security in 2030,” Science 319 (2008): 607-610.

314 W. Schlenker, D. B. Lobell, “Robust negative impacts of climate change on African agriculture,” Environmental Research Letters 5 (2009), DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/5/1/014010.

315 D. S. Battisti, R. L. Naylor, “Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat,” Science 323 (2009): 240-244.

316 The experiment assumed a doubling of atmospheric CO2. R. M. Adams et al., “Global Climate Change and U.S. Agriculture,” Nature 345 (1990): 219-224.

317 E.g., J. E. Olesen, M. Bindi, “Consequences of Climate Change for European Agricultural Productivity, Land Use and Policy,” European Journal of Agronomy 16 (2002): 239-262. G. Maracchi, O. Sirotenko, and M. Bindi, “Impacts of Present and Future Climate Variability on Agriculture and Forestry in the Temperate Regions: Europe,” Climatic Change 70 (2005): 117-135; N. Dronin, A. Kirilenko, “Climate Change and Food Stress in Russia: What If the Market Transforms as It Did during the Past Century?” Climatic Change 86 (2008): 123-150.

318 There’s more to it than just temperature and rain. A key issue is the so-called CO2 fertilization effect. Plants like CO2, so having more of it in the air tends to increase crop yields. Most agro-climate models build in a hefty benefit for this, based on early greenhouse experiments using enclosed chambers. This enables the models to offset a large share of the damages of summer heat and drought, owing to the anticipated fertilizing benefit from elevated CO2 levels. However, more realistic experiments staged outdoors, using blowers over actual farm fields, show a much lower fertilization benefit. This suggests that the models may be seriously underestimating the negative impacts of climate change to world food production. S. P. Long et al., “Food for Thought: Lower-than-Expected Crop Yield Stimulation with Rising CO2 Concentrations,” Science 312 (2006): 1918-1921.

319 For example, crop declines from a doubling of extreme weather events by the 2020s. J. Alcamo et al., “A New Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Food Production Shortfalls and Water Availability in Russia,” Global Environmental Change 17 (2007): 429-444.

320 For example, Russia’s West Siberian, East Siberian, Northwestern, Northern, and Far East regions are all forecast to experience increased cereal and potato productivity by the 2020s, but its Central, Central Chernozem, North Caucasian, Volga-Vyatka, and Volga regions are projected to decline. A. P. Kirilenko et al., “Modeling the Impact of Climate Changes on Agriculture in Russia,” Doklady Earth Sciences 397, no. 5 (2004): 682-685 (translated from Russian).

321 T. Parfitt, “Russia’s Polar Hero,” Science 324, no. 5933 (2009): 1382-1384. See also “Artur Chilingarov: Russia’s Arctic Explorer,” The Moscow News, July 17, 2008.

322 Tom Casey, a U.S. State Department spokesman, said, “I’m not sure whether they put a metal flag, a rubber flag, or a bedsheet on the ocean floor. Either way, it doesn’t have any legal standing.” “Russian Subs Seek Glory at North Pole,” USA Today, August 2, 2007. See also “Russia Plants Flag on North Pole Seabed,” The Guardian UK; “Russia Plants Flag under N Pole,” BBC News; “Russia Plants Underwater Flag at North Pole,” The New York Times; “Russia to Claim Energy Wealth beneath Arctic Ocean,” Pravda; and many others (all August 2, 2007).

323 ArcticNet is a Canadian government-funded research consortium that coordinates big projects in the Arctic, including the CCGS Amundsen expedition,

324 The 2007-09 International Polar Year (IPY, was an international science program focused on the Arctic and Antarctic that lasted from March 2007 to March 2009. More than two hundred projects, sixty countries, and thousands of scientists participated in IPY. It was actually the fourth such Polar Year, following earlier ones in 1882-83, 1932-33, and 1957-58.

325 2007 was the astonishing record year in which nearly 40% of the Arctic’s late-summer Arctic sea disappeared. See Chapter 5.

326 “A Mad Scramble for the Shrinking Arctic,” The New York Times, September 10, 2008.

327 In 2008 a test shipment of this very pure ore was delivered to Europe from the Baffinland Mine in Mary River. P. 77, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report, Arctic Council, April 2009, 190 pp.

328 “Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal: Estimates of Undiscovered Oil and Gas North of the Arctic Circle,” digital data and USGS Fact Sheet 2008-3049, 2008; D. L. Gautier et al., “Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the Arctic,” Science 324 (2009): 1175-1179.

329 S. G. Borgerson, “Arctic Meltdown: The Economic and Security Implications of Global Warming,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008.

330 S. G. Borgerson, “The Great Game Moves North,” Foreign Affairs, March 25, 2009. See also T. Halpin, “Russia Warns of War within a Decade over Arctic Oil and Gas Riches,” The Times, May 14, 2009; A. Doyle, “Arctic Nations Say No Cold War; Military Stirs,” Reuters, June 21, 2009.

331 M. Galeotti, “Cold Calling—Competition Heats Up for Arctic Resources,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, September 23, 2008.

332 R. Huebert, “In the Grip of Climate Change: The Circumpolar Dimension,” Session Paper no. 1, 2030 NORTH National Planning Conference, Ottawa, June 1-4, 2009.

333 Canada asserts that the “Northwest Passage” (it actually contains several possible routes) constitutes a domestic waterway, whereas the United States, Russia, and European Union maintain it is an international strait. At present the tacit policy between the United States and Canada is to agree to disagree on this issue.

334 Russia’s aircraft approached but did not enter Canadian airspace. B. Smith-Windsor, “The Perils of Sexing Up Arctic Security,” Toronto Star, June 26, 2009. See also “Two Russian Bombers Fly over Icelandic Airspace,”;IceNews, August 10, 2009; and others.

335 Much of this paragraph and the next are drawn from the work of Rob Huebert at the University of Calgary, “In the Grip of Climate Change: The Circumpolar Dimension,” Session Paper no. 1, 2030 NORTH National Planning Conference, Ottawa, June 1-4, 2009; and the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, “United States Arctic Policy: The Reluctant Arctic Power,” SPP Briefing Papers 2, no.2 (May 2009), 27 pp.

336 R. Huebert, “United States Arctic Policy: The Reluctant Arctic Power,” SPP Briefing Papers 2, no. 2 (May 2009), 27 pp.

337 Captain L. W. Brigham, Ph.D., personal communication, June 2, 2009.

338 Reportedly a 2009 “ice exercise” using attack submarines. R. Huebert, “In the Grip of Climate Change: The Circumpolar Dimension,” Session Paper no. 1, 2030 NORTH National Planning Conference, Ottawa, June 1-4, 2009, p. 18.

339 This 2009 directive lists four developments as justification for a change in U.S. Arctic policy, namely “(1) Altered national policies on homeland security and defense; (2) The effects of climate change and increasing human activity in the Arctic region; (3) The establishment and ongoing work of the Arctic Council; and (4) A growing awareness that the Arctic region is both fragile and rich in resources.” United States White House, Office of the Press Secretary, National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 66, Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD 25, Washington, D.C., January 9, 2009,

340 Personal interview with R. Huebert, Ottawa, June 3, 2009.

341 M. Gorbachev, “The Speech in Murmansk at the Ceremonial Meeting on the Occasion of the Presentation of the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal to the City of Murmansk,” October 1, 1987 (Novosti Press Agency: Moscow, 1987),; see also K. Åtland, Mikhail Gorbachev, “The Murmansk Initiative, and the Desecuritization of Interstate Relations in the Arctic,” Cooperation and Conflict 43, no. 3 (2008): 289-311, DOI:10.1177/0010836708092838.

342 This assistance was often done at the grassroots level. For example, by securing research funding to do fieldwork in Siberia, I was able to hire Russian scientists and locals for logistics support and scientific collaboration during this very difficult time.

343 The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, or AEPS, signed June 14, 1991, in Rovaniemi. AEPS is a nonbinding multilateral agreement signed by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the United States, with participation by the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Nordic Sámi Council, USSR Association of Small Peoples of the North, Federal Republic of Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Environment Program, and the International Arctic Science Committee. See

344 The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum established in 1996 “to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection” ( Its “member states” are the eight Arctic countries Canada, the United States, Denmark/Greenland/Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia; other categories of membership include six “permanent participant” aboriginal groups; and non-Arctic observer states like the United Kingtom, Spain, China, Italy, Poland, and South Korea. The Arctic Council focuses on environmental protection and sustainable development issues; it is strictly forbidden to engage issues of security or territory. Nonetheless it is the premier “Arctic” polity as of 2010.

345 By the turn of the millennium, even before the shock wave of 9/11, things had started to tighten up. People were beginning to consider the prospect of new economic opportunities for oil and gas exploration, shipping, and fisheries made possible by the reduction of summer Arctic sea ice. Under the Putin administration, Russia began funding her own scientists again, while also rolling up the welcome mat for western scientists. I and two graduate students—informed we were no longer allowed to do fieldwork even if escorted by Russian colleagues—packed up and left.

346 ACIA, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 1042 pp. Available for free download at

347 AMSA, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report, Arctic Council, 190 pp., April 2009.

348 These things are specifically barred from the Arctic Council’s mandate. The United States would not have supported its creation otherwise. This is perhaps unsurprising, as few, if any, superpowers will cede discussion of military matters to an intergovernmental forum. At high policy levels, U.S. support for the Arctic Council has always been reluctant, unlike lower policy levels, and among scientists, where U.S. support is strong.

349 J. Broadus, R. Vartanov, Environmental Security: Shared U.S. and Russian Perspectives (Woods Hole, Mass.: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, 2002), 60-61.

350 The Canada-U.S. dispute derives from differing interpretations of an 1825 treaty between Great Britain and Russia. However, Norway and Russia announced resolution of their decades-old dispute in April 2010, W. Gibbs, “Russia and Norway Reach Accord on Barents Sea,” The New York Times, April 27, 2010; “Norway, Russia Strike Deal to Divide Arctic Undersea Territory,” The Moscow Times, April 27, 2010; “Thaw in the Arctic, Financial Times, April 29, 2010.

351 UN Commission for the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). The extension is for the seafloor only, called an “Extended Continental Shelf,” or ECS, extending the standard EEZ up to 350 nautical miles. It does not include control over pelagic fishing as does the standard EEZ.

352 Sweden and Finland do not have coasts fronting the Arctic Ocean. The United States is unable to file an Article 76 claim until it ratifies UNCLOS. However, the United States is behaving as if it has, and has been carrying out the scientific investigations needed to make an UNCLOS Article 76 claim. The United States has also assisted other countries, especially Canada, in the collection of scientific data for their claims.

353 Resolution of Norway’s Article 76 claim was not perfect. The CLCS found that both Russia and Norway have legitimate cases for their overlapping claims in one area of the Barents Sea. The two countries had to reach their own agreement to resolve it. “UN Backs Norway Claim to Arctic Seabed Extension,” Ottawa Citizen, April 15, 2009. They did so in April 2010; see note 350.

354 The so-called “Ilulissat Declaration” was released May 28, 2008. Denmark invited Canada, Norway, Russia, and the United States to Ilulissat, Greenland, to craft this statement of these countries’ solidarity and commitment to existing legal frameworks, i.e., UNCLOS. It is widely perceived as a message to other entities, like the European Union, which had been issuing its own documents with proposals for shared Arctic Ocean governance, to stay out. Even the other Arctic countries of Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, and aboriginal organizations, were excluded from the meeting in Ilulissat. See

355 D. L. Gautier et al., “Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the Arctic,” Science 324 (2009): 1175-1179.

356 The current boundary between Canada and Denmark runs down the center of Lomonosov Ridge, thus both countries have the possibility of proving it is a geological extension of their continental shelves.

357 The Northern Sea Route offers a 35%-60% distance savings between Europe and the Far East. To go from Yokohama to Rotterdam via the Arctic Ocean would take just 6,500 nautical miles, versus 11,200 through the Suez Canal.

358 “Multiyear ice” (MYI) is sea ice that survives through at least one summer, and can grow considerably thicker and harder than “first-year ice” (FYI), normally only one to two meters thick. FYI is easier for icebreakers and fortified ships to pass through than MYI.

359 Russia’s newest nuclear icebreaker, the world’s largest, is named 50 Years of Victory. A. Revkin, “A Push to Increase Icebreakers in the Arctic,” The New York Times, August 16, 2008.

360 AMSA 2009, Table 5.2, p. 79.

361 AMSA 2009, p. 72. The “six-thousand” figure includes vessels traveling on the North Pacific’s Great Circle Route between Asia and North America through the Aleutian Island chain, which the United States defines as being within the “Arctic.”

362 Adapted from maps 5.5 and 5.6, AMSA 2009, p. 85.

363 Personal interview with J. Marshall, vice-president, Northern Transportation Co. Ltd., Hay River, NWT, July 6, 2007. For more about this long-running company, now aboriginal-owned, see

364 Personal interview with ConocoPhillips Russia president Don Wallette, January 22, 2007, Tromsø.

365 Because ice is fresh but ocean water salty, pockets of highly saline brine develop within sea ice as it first begins to freeze. As the ice grows over multiple winters, the brine pockets drain and the ice thickens, increasing its strength and hardness.

366 Sea ice, including first-year ice, is always dangerous, and will always be a limiting factor in the Arctic Ocean.

367 Ships must have fortified hulls, powerful engines, and other technical requirements to operate safely in sea ice. A ship’s polar class designates the allowable conditions it can handle (summer or year-round operation, first-year or multiyear ice, etc.). The design requirements for a given polar class are set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) defines a range of categories. The higher the polar class, the more expensive the ship is to build.

368 World fleets typically travel at fifteen to twenty or more knots. A Russian icebreaker can break ice at speeds as high as twelve to fifteen knots, but risks of damage are higher. Six- to ten knots are more typical in ice. Personal communication with Captain Lawson Brigham, November 25, 2009.

369 Canada and Russia maintain that these passages are domestic waters under their control; the United States and others maintain they are international straits and thus freely available to use without declaration or permission. These and other nontrivial impediments to transnational shipping in the Arctic are described in AMSA 2009.

370 I suppose someday there might be more of them—perhaps by 2100 or 2150, if globalization hasn’t collapsed into a pile of fiefdoms—together with booming new Arctic port cities. The geography of distance, along with further sea-ice reductions in store, is just too compelling. But this won’t happen by 2050, the time frame of this book’s thought experiment.

371 Some 1.2 million passengers took cruise ships to the region in 2004; three years later the number had more than doubled. By 2008 some 375 cruise-ship port calls were scheduled for Greenland’s ports and harbors alone (AMSA 2009, p. 79).

372 From personal interviews with Mike Spence, mayor of Churchill, June 28, 2007, and L. Fetterly, general manager, Hudson Bay Port Co. (owned by OmniTRAX), June 30, 2007. Apparently there is a powerful lobby for keeping Canada’s grain running east-west on its longer, nationalized rail link to Thunder Bay, rather than on the shorter, privately held north-south line to Churchill.

373 Permafrost is also commonly studded with massive lenses of ice, which occupy less volume and may drain away entirely if it melts. This sets the stage for some highly irregular ground settling if the permafrost starts to thaw. Trees lean drunkenly and fall over. Oddly shaped sinkholes called “thermokarst” appear and fill with water, and other odd phenomena.

374 Borehole temperatures in permafrost are generally warming everywhere around the northern latitudes, but to varying degrees as a function of depth and location. In Alaska it has warmed as much as +3°C since the 1980s, but a more typical range is 0.5°-2°C. For a summary of observed permafrost temperature changes, see Table 6.8 and associated discussion on pp. 210-213, ACIA (2005).

375 The presence of permafrost helps to hold water near the land surface. L. C. Smith, Y. Sheng, G. M. MacDonald, L. D. Hinzman, “Disappearing Arctic Lakes,” Science 308 (2005): 1429.

376 North of 45° N latitude, the single most important determinant of northern lake abundance is glaciation history, followed by the presence or absence of permafrost. On average, glaciated landscapes contain about four times as many lakes as nonglaciated landscapes; permafrost roughly doubles lake numbers. From GIS analysis of northern hemisphere lake distribution, I estimate that in a “permafrost-free” world, the number of known, mapped lakes north of 45° N latitude would be reduced from roughly 192,000 to 103,000 (-46%) and their total inundation area reduced from about 560,000 to 325,000 km2 (-42%). However, that is an extreme scenario. More realistic for 2050 is an overall reduction of known lakes to 155,000 (-15%) and 476,000 km2 (-15%), respectively. These numbers are underestimates because the true number of Arctic lakes (i.e., unmapped) is in the millions. L. C. Smith, Y. Sheng, G. M. MacDonald, “A First Pan-Arctic Assessment of the Influence of Glaciation, Permafrost, Topography and Peatlands on Northern Lake Distribution,” Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 18 (2007): 201-208, DOI:10.1002/ppp.581.

377 So-called “continuous” permafrost will decline even more, by 19%-53%. 2050 forecasts from the CGCM2, ECHAM4/OPYC3, GFDL-R30, HadCM3, and CSM climate models, ACIA (2005), Table 6.9. Seasonal thaw depth refers to the depth of the active layer at the ground surface, which thaws out in summer and refreezes in winter. Typical active layer depths are ten to one hundred centimeters.

378 The percentage of dangerous buildings in large villages and cities ranges from 22% in Tiksi to 80% in Vorkuta, including 55% in Magadan, 60% in Chita, 35% in Dudinka, 10% in Noril’sk, 50% in Pevek, 50% in Amderma, and 35% in Dikson. On the Baikal-Amur Mainline railroad 10%-16% of the subgrade in permafrost was deformed by permafrost in the early 1990s, rising to 46% by 1998. ACIA (2005), pp. 935-936.

379 This map is assembled from several types of data. The permafrost load-bearing capacity model (gray tones) is very new and will comprise the Ph.D. dissertation of D. Streletskiy, University of Delaware. Permafrost is warmed by rising air temperatures and/or deeper winter snowpack (deeper snow insulates the ground). In general, warmer permafrost means lower load-bearing capacity, but other factors like geology, ice content, and thermal properties are also important. These processes have recently been incorporated into Streletskiy’s semiempirical model, driven here by NCAR CCSM3 projections of surface temperature and snow depth averaged over fifteen-year periods, 2000-2014 and 2045-2059, assuming an SRES A1B emissions scenario. The map shows the projected changes occurring between those two time intervals. “Severe loss” is strength loss of >50%, “moderate” is 25-50%, and “mild” is under 25%. The hatched markings refer to increased travel cost from reduced winter road suitability, work done at UCLA by my graduate student Scott Stephenson. Winter roads may only be used for transport where climate provides suitable conditions for their construction and use. Winter road suitability is strongly correlated with freezing index, which is a function of temperature. Land area was classified as suitable for winter road use where mean temperature was 0°C or lower and snow depth exceeded 20 cm. Rivers and lakes were classified as suitable if they received at least 23 cm of freeze depth. Suitability losses were cumulated from November to March. Again, NCAR CCSM3 projections of surface temperature were averaged over fifteen-year periods 2000-2014 and 2045-2059 assuming a SRES A1B emissions scenario, with the map showing the projected change in areal extent of suitability occurring between those two time intervals. Note that this map does not require that winter roads are currently being used in these areas, but instead measures the climatic suitability for their potential use.

380 Personal interview with D. Augur, assistant deputy minister, NWT Department of Transportation, Yellowknife, July 9, 2007. On average, permanent roads cost $0.5-$1.0 M/km to build, whereas winter roads average $1,300 M/km.

381 The Tibbitt-Contwoyto is jammed with heavy trucks during its brief operating season. In 2007 it absorbed eleven thousand loaded trips in just seventy-two days. D. Hayley and S. Proskin, “Managing the Safety of Ice Covers Used for Transportation in an Environment of Climate Warming,” 4th Canadian Conference on Geohazards, May 20-24, 2008, Québec City, Canada.

382 Geologically speaking, a kimberlite pipe. Diamonds form under extreme pressure deep in the Earth’s crust but can sometimes be found in kimberlite pipes, narrow chimneys of igneous rock that can reach the surface. In the NWT kimberlites are often found under lakes because they are softer than the surrounding granitic rocks, thus becoming eroded depressions that fill with water.

383 Personal interview with Tom Hoefer, manager of external and internal affairs, Diavik Diamond Mines, Inc., Yellowknife, NWT, July 9, 2007.

384 Personal interview with Divisional Forester Jeremy Beal, Tolko Industries Ltd., High Level, Alberta, June 4, 2007.

385 Compared with other types of road, properly constructed and used winter roads have surprisingly low impact on the environment, especially over lakes and wetlands. See S. Guyer, B. Keating, “The Impact of Ice Roads and Ice Pads on Tundra Ecosystems,” National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, BLM-Alaska Open File Report 98 (April 2005), 57 pp.

386 L. D. Hinzman et al., “Evidence and Implications of Recent Climate Change in Northern Alaska and Other Arctic Regions,” Climatic Change 72 (2005): 251-298.

387 One of the ways to mitigate the climate-warming effect is to deploy sweepers to clear snow from the planned roadway, reducing its insulating effect on the ground.

388 A $270 million proposal is pending to build a port road from Bathurst Inlet, which would help the diamond mines to offset decline of the Tibbitt-Contwoyto ice road as well as enabling other mining activity in the area. G. Quenneville, “Bathurst Inlet Project Reconsidered,” Northern News Services, June 15, 2009.

389 Obviously, in terms of sheer numbers, most of the U.S. increase will be in southern states. However, the United States as a whole is still a NORC country and the +15 million figure for its northern states is probably conservative. Alaska today has fewer than a million people, for example, but is one of the fastest-growing U.S. states, projected to grow nearly 40% by 2030. In contrast, New York is projected to grow less than 3%. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Interim State Population Projections, 2005, Table data are from United Nations Population Division: The 2008 Revision Population Database (medium variant), (accessed July 26, 2009).

390 This calculation is from GIS analysis for land area of the northern quarter of the planet, i.e., between 45° and 90° N latitude. About twenty-one million square kilometers is underlain by some form of permafrost, and eighteen million were glaciated in the last ice age, leaving a smoothed landscape (except in mountain belts) that is relatively easy to get around on. Adding in all the coastal and low-lying areas (here assumed simply as land elevations three hundred meters a.s.l. or less), because they are warmer and more accessible than high-elevation terrain, yields about twenty-seven million square kilometers, of which thirteen million is currently in some stage of permafrost. Subtracting the permafrost areas leaves roughly fourteen million square kilometers of ostensibly livable land.

391 Unlike North America and northern Europe, Eurasia was not extensively ice covered during the last ice age. Most of modern-day Russia has been occupied by humans for at least the past forty to forty-five thousand years and perhaps longer. Even in the high Arctic, new archaeological discoveries at Mamontovaya Kurya and the Yana River indicate human activities thirty to forty thousand years old. See Pavel Pavlov et al., Nature 413 (September 6, 2001): 64-67, and Richard Stone, Science 303 (January 2, 2004): 33.

392 They are loaded with ancient gene haplogroup U, especially U5B1B1, the so-called “Sámi motif,” dating back fifty-five thousand years to the Iberian Peninsula, from where they migrated north at the end of the ice age. T. Lappalainen et al., “Migration Waves to the Baltic Sea Region,” Annals of Human Genetics 72 (2008): 337-348.

393 Country-averaged population densities for Canada, China, and India are 3,141, and 369 persons per square kilometer, respectively, equivalent to 82.4, 1.75, and 0.67 acres of land per person.

394 This has to do with the generally clockwise rotation of gyres in the northern hemisphere oceans, transporting southern ocean water north along the western edges and northern ocean water south along the eastern edges of the Atlantic and Pacific Basins. Thermohaline ocean circulation is also vitally important, as we shall see shortly. Finally, prevailing wind directions are westerly for much of the northern hemisphere meaning advection of warm ocean air over the land moves generally from west to east rather than east to west.

395 In the northern hemisphere. Ibid.

396 For more on how physical geography can influence human settlement, see Harm de Blij, The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization’s Rough Landscape, (USA: Oxford University Press, (2008), 304 pp.

397 This was done under the U.S. Lend-Lease program to supply massive amounts of military material to its allies during the war. P. 42, K. S. Coates, W. R. Morrison, The Alaska Highway in World War II (Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), 309 pp.

398 All told, the United States poured at least $4 billion (in 2009 dollars) into the projects. U.S. expenditures from 1942 through 1945 were roughly $41 million for airfields, $20 million for the initial temporary highway, $133-$144 million for the Canol Road and pipeline, $131 million for the finished highway; no data for the Haines Road. K. S. Coates, W. R. Morrison, The Alaska Highway in World War II (Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), 309 pp.

399 When a Japanese invasion became unlikely, the U.S. soldiers and contractors were recalled from northwestern Canada and the newly built infrastructure soon turned over as promised. Other northern bases were retained for decades, including a large military presence at Keflavík, not turned over to Iceland until 2006. Sondre Stromfjord (now Kangerlussuaq) was turned over to Greenland in 1992. Thule Air Base is still operated by the United States.

400 A. Applebaum, GULAG: A History (London: Penguin Books 2003), 610 pp. Highly recommended.

401 The acronym GULAG or Gulag comes from Glavnoe upravlenie legerei, meaning Main Camp Administration. Work camps had long antecedents in tsarist Russia and were implemented by Lenin almost immediately after the Russian Revolution. But Stalin’s expansion of the camp system in 1929 took it to a new level of scale and economic significance. For more, see A. I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 (New York: Harper Collins, 1974), 660 pp., and A. Applebaum, GULAG: A History (London: Penguin Books, 2003), 610 pp. See also F. Hill and C. Gaddy, The Siberian Curse (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2003).

402 F. Hill and C. Gaddy, Ibid.

403 Ph.D. dissertation of T. Mikhailova, “Essays on Russian Economic Geography: Measuring Spatial Inefficiency,” Pennsylvania State University, Department of Economics, 2004. See also F. Hill and C. Gaddy, Ibid.

404 Geological evolution and other material for this section drawn from June 5, 2009, personal interview with John D. Grace of Earth Science Associates, Long Beach, California, and his superb book Russian Oil Supply: Performance and Prospects (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 288 pp.

405 A primary reason for this is economic “discounting” of up-front capital, in which money is valued higher today than tomorrow. The anticipated future profits for a proposed project are weighed against the alternative profits that could be generated by placing the project’s up-front cost into some other interest-bearing investment today. If the second number is larger, it makes no financial sense to proceed. Massive projects with longtime horizons to profitability, like building a freeway system or developing West Siberia, are thus unattractive to private capital. The key parameter in these calculations is the “discount rate,” i.e., the interest rate. The steeper the discount rate (the higher the interest rate offered by alternative investments), the sooner a project must be completed to make sense. Economic discounting is extremely important in energy development: Whether a proposed oil or gas field will take five years or seven before production can make the difference between its making economic sense or not.

406 I led a three-year National Science Foundation project to study peatland carbon dynamics in the West Siberian Lowland from 1998 to 2000. Its purpose was to drill cores across the region and involved dozens of Russian and American scientists and graduate students, including Olga Borisova, Konstantine Kremenetski, and Andrei Velichko at the Russian Academy of Sciences and David Beilman, Karen Frey, Glen MacDonald, and Yongwei Sheng at UCLA. For publications and results, see

407 The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) is the successor to the Soviet KGB and Russia’s main domestic security agency. Upon arrival, foreign visitors to West Siberian cities must register/interview with local FSB officers and surrender passports at hotels. Some towns are completely closed to foreigners.

408 Including a CAD$1.2 billion bid for the rights to explore an offshore area of 611,000 hectares, p. 77, AMSA 2009.

409 “Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal: Estimates of Undiscovered Oil and Gas North of the Arctic Circle,” digital data and USGS Fact Sheet 2008-3049 (2008); D. L. Gautier et al., “Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the Arctic,” Science 324 (2009): 1175-1179.

410 More specifically, the other promising geological provinces for oil are the Canning-Mackenzie (6.4 BBO), North Barents Basin (5.3 BBO), Yenisei-Khatanga (5.3 BBO), Northwest Greenland Rifted Margin (4.9 BBO), the South Danmarkshavn Basin (4.4 BBO), and the North Danmarkshavn Salt Basin (3.3 BBO). Other promising geological provinces for natural gas are South Barents Basin (184 TCF), North Barents Basin (117 TCF), and again the Alaska Platform (122 TCF). P. 1178, D. L. Gautier et al., Ibid.

411 Interview with Alexei Varlomov, deputy minister for natural resources of the Russian Federation, Tromsø, January 22, 2007.

412 In 2008 Russia produced 602.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas and had 43.3 trillion more in proved reserves, both greater than any other country. Russia produced an average of 9,886,000 barrels of oil per day, second only to Saudi Arabia (10,846,000 barrels per day). BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2009, available at

413 See Chapter 3.

414 J. D. Grace, Russian Oil Supply: Performance and Prospects (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 288 pp.

415 At peak production West Siberia’s giant Urengoi, Yambur, and Medvezhye gas fields produced almost 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year; by 2030 production will decline to 130 billion cubic meters per year. E. N. Andreyeva, V. A. Kryukov, “The Russian Model—Merging Profit and Sustainability,” pp. 240-287 in A. Mikkelsen and O. Lenghelle, eds., Arctic Oil and Gas (New York: Routledge, 2008), 390 pp.

416 Gazprom commenced laying pipeline across the floor of Baydaratskaya Bay in 2009, hoping to open the Bovanenkovo gas field for European markets by 2011. July 24, 2009, “Yamal Pipeline Laying Proceeds,”

417 Some producers skip the upgrading step to produce lower-grade bitumen. The described process is used by Syncrude, Canada’s largest tar sands producer. B. M. Testa, “Tar on Tap,” Mechanical Engineering (December 2008): 30-34.

418 In 2008 a flock of about five hundred mallard ducks died after landing in a Syncrude tailing pond. “Hundreds of Ducks Die after Landing in Oil Sands in Canada,” Fox News, May 8, 2008. See also E. A. Johnson, K. Miyanishi, “Creating New Landscapes and Ecosystems: The Alberta Oil Sands,” Annals, New York Academy of Sciences 1134 (2008): 120-145; and M. J. Pasqualetti, “The Alberta Oil Sands from Both Sides of the Border,” The Geographical Review 99, no. 20 (2009): 248-267.

419 T. M. Pavelsky, L. C. Smith, “Remote Sensing of Hydrologic Recharge in the Peace-Athabasca Delta, Canada,” Geophysical Research Letters 35 (2008):L08403, DOI:10.1029/ 2008GL033268.

420 Oil sands operators self-report that a total of 65 square kilometers have been reclaimed in some form, or about 12% of the total disturbed area. According to the nonprofit Pembina Institute, only 1 square kilometer has been fully restored and certified by the government of Alberta. Regardless of this discrepancy both numbers are small compared with the 530 square kilometers disturbed.

421 E. A. Johnson, K. Miyanishi, “Creating New Landscapes and Ecosystems: The Alberta Oil Sands,” Annals, New York Academy of Sciences 1134 (2008): 120-145.

422 The Mackenzie Gas Project has been proposed since the early 1970s but was previously suspended pending settlement of aboriginal land claims. This obstacle is now settled and the project pending as is described in Chapter 8.

423 Under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada pledged to reduce carbon emissions to -6% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Instead by 2009 her emissions grew +27% and will rise again in 2010 if Alberta tar sands development intensifies. “Canada’s northern goal,” in The World in 2010, special supplement to The Economist (2009): 53-54. Syncrude and Suncor, two of the largest tar sands operators, are the third- and sixth-largest emitters of greenhouse gases in Canada. M. J. Pasqualetti, “The Alberta Oil Sands from Both Sides of the Border,” The Geographical Review 99, no. 20 (2009): 248-267.

424 The most promising current underground extraction technology is steam-assisted gravity drainage, in which pressurized steam is forced underground in long horizontal injection wells to heat the bitumen. After about six months of heating the bitumen begins to flow and can be pumped from a second, parallel recovery well to the surface.

425 From Alberta Energy, the total area leased for in situ (underground) development as of May 19, 2009, is 79,298 square kilometers. J. Grant, S. Dyer, D. Woynillowicz, “Clearing the Air on Oil Sands Myths” (Drayton Valley, Alberta: The Pembina Institute, June 2009), 32 pp., Future projections from B. Söderbergh et al., “A Crash Programme Scenario for the Canadian Oil Sands Industry,” Energy Policy 35, no. 3 (2007): 1931-1947. As of 2009, oil production from Alaska’s North Slope averaged about seven hundred thousand barrels per day.

426 Government of Canada, Policy Research Initiative, “The Emergence of Cross-Border Regions between Canada and the United States, Final Report” (November 2008), 78 pp., See also D. K. Alper, “The Idea of Cascadia: Emergent Regionalisms in the Pacific Northwest-Western Canada,” Journal of Borderland Studies 11, no. 2 (1996): 1-22; S. E. Clarke, “Regional and Transnational Discourse: The Politics of Ideas and Economic Development in Cascadia,” International Journal of Economic Development 2, no. 3 (2000): 360-378; H. Nicol, “Resiliency or Change? The Contemporary Canada-U.S. Border,” Geopolitics 10 (2005): 767-790; V. Conrad, H. N. Nicol, Beyond Walls: Re-inventing the Canada-United States Borderlands (Aldershot, Hampshire, and Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2008), 360 pp.

427 See

428 This discovery of common sociocultural values within cross-border superregions is based on survey data, Government of Canada, Policy Research Initiative, “The Emergence of Cross-Border Regions between Canada and the United States,” Final Report (November 2008), 78 pp,

429 The U.S. State Department recently quelled any hint of a U.S. claim to a half-dozen islands off Russia’s Arctic coast, even though Americans were involved with the discovery and exploration of some of them. “Status of Wrangel and Other Arctic Islands,” U.S. Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Washington, D.C., May 20, 2003. While Canadian politicians like to fret about protecting Canada’s vast northern territories from the United States and Russia, there is little evidence that either country has designs on them. Indeed, the United States provides tacit military backing of Canadian sovereignty there. For more on the relative success of U.S.-Canada relations, see K. S. Coates et al., Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North (Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2008), 261 pp. However, while the likelihood of conflict between Arctic nation-states is low, there is ongoing domestic tension from aboriginal groups over land title, as is discussed in Chapter 8.

430 Another area of increasing cross-border economic ties is between Russia and the U.S., with Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in the Russian Far East increasingly importing fuel and other supplies from Alaska. J. Newell, The Russian Far East (Simi Valley, Calif.: Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Inc., 2004), 466 pp.

431 This table was constructed using data from the following sources: 2009 Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal (179 countries,; 2008 Economic Freedom of the World Index (141 countries,; 2009 KOF Index of Globalization (208 countries,; 2009 Global Peace Index (144 countries,; 2008 Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index (167 countries,; 2009 Freedom in the World Country Rankings (193 countries, To allow comparison between these indices, numeric index data were converted to percentile country rank. Taking an average of these percentile rankings provides the composite score in the right-most column of the table.

432 Each index has its own agenda, which is why I prefer to look at all of them. Jeffrey Sachs, for example, questions the contention in Index of Economic Freedom that trade liberalization necessarily leads to GDP growth, citing examples, like China, which have very strong economic growth despite low scores on the index. J. Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (New York: Penguin Group, 2005), 416 pp.

433 Most oil and gas outfits operating in the northern high latitudes are private multinational companies, except in the Russian Federation, where the industry is increasingly returning to state control.

434 The 2010 Economist Intelligence Unit assessed 140 countries in their global livability index. The four NORC cities making the top ten were Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Helsinki; the others were Vienna, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and Auckland. The world’s lowest-ranked cities were Dakar, Colombo, Kathmandu, Douala, Karachi, Lagos, Port Moresby, Algiers, Dhaka, and Harare. EIU Press Release, “Winter Olympics Host, Vancouver, Ranked World’s Most Liveable City,” February 10, 2010, (accessed February 16, 2010).

435 Indeed, without immigration the populations and labor forces of most European countries will shrink. Germany, for example, now has a total fertility rate of just 1.3 and is in population decline. Western Europe has a total fertility rate of 1.6, which, combined with a growing elderly population, suggests that the European Union must admit 1.1 million immigrants per year just to maintain its current labor force. P. 129, K. B. Newbold, Six Billion Plus: World Population in the 21st Century (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007), 245 pp.

436 As of 2009 Russia’s total fertility rate was just 1.4 births per woman; the replacement rate is 2.1. Russia’s crude death rate was 16.2 per 1,000 people versus a crude birth rate of 10 per 1,000 people. The Economist, Pocket World in Figures (London: Profile Books, 2009), 256 pp.

437 I. Saveliev, “The Transition from Immigration Restriction to the Importation of Labor: Recent Migration Patterns and Chinese Migrants in Russia,” Forum of International Development Studies 35 (2007): 21-35.

438 G. Kozhevnikova, “Radical Nationalism in Russia in 2008, and Efforts to Counteract It,” Sova Center Reports and Analyses (April 15, 2009),

439 More precisely, in 2008 the United States granted 1,107,126 people legal permanent resident status, and 1,046,539 were naturalized. There were 175 million visitors, of whom 90% were short-term, e.g., tourists and business travelers, and 10% (3.7 million) were longer-term temporary residents like specialty workers, students, and nurses. Between 2005 and 2008 U.S. border apprehensions ranged from 723,840 to 1,189,031 people per year. Drawn from the following reports by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics: R. Monger, N. Rytina, “U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2008,” Annual Flow Report, March 2009; J. Lee, N. Rytina, “Naturalizations in the United States: 2008,” Annual Flow Report, March 2009; R. Monger, M. Barr, “Nonimmigrant Admissions to the United States: 2008,” Annual Flow Report, April 2009; N. Rytina, J. Simanski, “Apprehensions by the U.S. Border Patrol: 2005-2008,” Fact Sheet, June 2009; J. Napolitano et al., 2008 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, August 2009.

440 Canada admitted 247,243 legal permanent residents in 2008, of whom 149,072 were in the “Economic Class” (skilled workers), 65,567 were in the “Family Class” (reunification), and 32,602 were “Refugees” or “Other” classes. “Facts and Figures 2008—Immigration Overview: Permanent and Temporary residents,” Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site, (accessed August 22, 2009).

441 See pp. 121-128, K. B. Newbold, Six Billion Plus: World Population in the 21st Century (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007), 245 pp.

442 Through their memberships in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Schengen Agreement, Iceland and Norway have essentially opened their labor markets to the EU.

443 As of 2005 the percent foreign born in the United States and Germany was 12.3% and 12.5%, respectively. Canada had the most with 19.3%. Data from Table 1, J.-C. Dumont, G. Lemaître, “Counting Immigrants and Expatriates in OECD Countries: A New Perspective,” OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, no. 25 (2005), 41 pp. See

444 Unusual warm spells in winter cause snow to partly melt, then refreeze, encasing the snowpack in ice. Starvation can result for herbivores unable to break through. Rain-on-snow events are particularly deadly; in October 2003 a particularly severe rainstorm killed approximately twenty thousand musk oxen, one-fourth of the herd, in Banks Island, Canada. J. Putkonen et al., “Rain on Snow: Little Understood Killer in the North,” Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 90, no. 26 (2009): 221-222.

445 In 2007-08 crude birth rates in Nunavut averaged 25.2 per 1,000 versus 11.1 for all of Canada and 10.6 for Ontario. Total fertility rate (TFR) averaged 2.84 children per woman versus 1.59 TFR for all of Canada. Median age was 23.1 years in Nunavut versus 39.5 years for Canada. Source: Statistics Canada, and (accessed August 28, 2009).

446 Personal interview with Iqaluit mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik, on the CCGS Amundsen icebreaker, August 5, 2007. For a strategic plan of Iqaluit’s deepwater port ambitions, see

447 Canada is comprised of provinces and territories. There are currently three territories: the Northwest Territories (NWT), Yukon, and Nunavut. Territories are politically autonomous but less powerful than provinces, which are constitutionally enshrined.

448 The Russian Federation recognizes almost 200 “nationalities,” of which 130 (~20 million people, or 14% of Russia’s population) are likely aboriginal. However, only 45 groups (~250,000 people) are officially recognized as such (“indigenous numerically small peoples of the north”), or about 0.2% of Russia’s total population. See B. Donahoe et al., “Size and Place in the Construction of Indigeneity in the Russian Federation,” Current Anthropology 49, no. 6 (2008): 993-1009.

449 North American aboriginal population data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Statistics Canada. For the Nordic countries, which do not collect ethnicity data during census, estimates are from UN World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, available at

450 As of the 2000 U.S. Census the aboriginal population of Alaska was 85,698 out of 550,043 (15.6%): U.S. Census Brief C2KBR/01-15, “The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2000,” February 2002, (accessed August 30, 2009). The Sámi population of Sweden averages about 11% (5,900/53,772) across Kiruna, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, and Arvidsjaur municipalities: Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples—Sweden: Sámi, 2008,; in Finland about 40% (7,500/18,990) across Utsjoki, Inari, Enontekiö, and Sodankylä: Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples—Finland: Sámi, 2008,; in Norway’s Finnmark County about 34% (25,000/73,000): Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples—Norway: Sámi, 2008, Denmark/Greenland and Sakha Yakut data from the Arctic Human Development Report (Akureyri: Stefansson Arctic Institute, 2004), 242 pp. But in the Russian North, aboriginals officially number only about 250,000 and thus comprise just 0.2% of the total population: Government of the Russian Federation, “Yedinyy perechen’ korennykh malochislennykh narodov Rossiyskoy Federatsii (Unified list of indigenous numerically small peoples of the Russian Federation),” Confirmed by Decree 255 of the Russian Government, March 24, 2000.

451 American Indians and Alaska Natives, currently numbering 4.9 million, are expected to rise to 8.6 million by 2050. U.S. Census Bureau, Press Release CB08-123, “An Older and More Diverse Nation by Midcentury,” August 14, 2008, (accessed August 29, 2009). Canada’s 2006 census recorded 1,172,790 people as North American Indian (First Nations), Inuit, or Métis (mixed race), versus 976,305 in 2001 and 799,010 in 1996. Statistics Canada, Press Release, Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 Census, January 15, 2008, (accessed August 30, 2009).

452 Tlingit Nation had even recorded a protest with Russia on this issue, T. Penikett, Reconciliation: First Nations Treaty Making in British Columbia (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., 2006), 303 pp.

453 For a history of the circumstances and politics leading to the landmark ANCSA bill, see W. R. Borneman, Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land (New York: HarperCollins Perennial, 2004), 608 pp.

454 After ANCSA the U.S. federal government owned nearly 60% of the land in Alaska, the state 28%, and the regional corporations 12%. All other private lands combined totaled less than 2%.

455 Subsurface mineral rights are retained by the regional corporations, but village corporations can obtain surface rights, e.g., water and timber. Alaska’s twelve regional corporations are Ahtna, Inc.; The Aleut Corporation; Arctic Slope Regional Corporation; Bering Straits Native Corporation; Bristol Bay Native Corporation; Calista Corporation; Chugach Alaska Corporation; Cook Inlet Region, Inc.; Doyon Ltd.; Koniag, Inc.; NANA Regional Corporation, Inc.; and Sealaska Corporation. A thirteenth, aptly called The 13th Regional Corporation, received cash only for Alaska aboriginals residing outside the state.

456 These included political organizations by Inuit, Yukon Indians, Métis, Cree, and other groups. F. Abele, “Northern Development: Past, Present and Future,” in N. F. Abele et al., eds., Northern Exposure: Peoples, Powers and Prospects in Canada’s North (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009), 605 pp.

457 Support for the Mackenzie Gas Project is not yet unanimous, as the Dehcho claim isn’t done and they currently don’t support the pipeline. Also, within the NWT the Akaitcho and Northwest Territories Métis claims are not yet settled.

458 “Imperial Says Earliest Startup Date for Mackenzie Gas Project in 2018,” Oilweek, March 15, 2010, (accessed April 4, 2010).

459 The amount and details of resource royalty returns vary greatly between settlements. In general, ANCSA lands retain all mineral and subsurface rights on granted land, but receive no royalties from surrounding public land. Canadian land claims agreements retain only a portion of subsurface revenues from their actual owned holdings, but also receive royalties for extraction from surrounding public lands, which are also under land claims management. Thus, the geographic reach of the Canadian settlements extends across public as well as aboriginal-owned land, whereas in Alaska it does not.

460 Parts of this discussion drawn from personal interview with land claims attorney John Donihee, Ottawa, June 3, 2009.

461 At least twenty-two comprehensive land claims agreements have entered effect in Canada. Most recent are the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement and Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement Act beginning 2008 and 2009, respectively. Earlier ones are the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (1975), Northeastern Québec Agreement (1978), Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984), Gwich’in Agreement (1992), Sahtu Dene and Métis Agreement (1994), Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (1995), Nisga’a Final Agreement (2000), Tlicho Agreement (2005), Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement (2005), Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (2008), the Council for Yukon Indians Umbrella Final Agreement (1993), and corresponding self-government agreements: Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation (1995), First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun (1995), Teslin Tlingit Council (1995), Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (1995), Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation (1997), Selkirk First Nation (1997), Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation (1998), Ta’an Kwach’an Council (2002), Kluane First Nation (2004), Kwanlin Dun First Nation (2005), Carcross/Tagish First Nation (2005). Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, (accessed September 3, 2009).

462 A final wave of LCAs will be in British Columbia, the only British colony in North America that refused to extinguish aboriginal title through treaties. BC tribes are now actively negotiating modern land claims treaties. T. Penikett, Reconciliation: First Nations Treaty Making in British Columbia (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., 2006), 303 pp.; personal interview with former Yukon premier T. Penikett, Ottawa, June 2, 2009. Also, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is still negotiating claims agreements with the Dehcho, Akaitcho, and Northwest Territories Métis Nation in NWT, plus two Denesuline overlaps in the southernmost NWT and southern Nunavut. Claims are also being negotiated, or are entering negotiations, in Québec, Labrador, the Maritime Provinces, and Eastern Ontario; personal communication with D. Perrin, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, November 24, 2009.

463 Greenland’s highest elected body prior to the introduction of Home Rule in 1979 was the Landsråd, roughly translated as “Provincial Council.” J. Brøsted and H. V. Gulløv, “Recent Trends and Issues in the Political Development of Greenland,” Actes du XLII Congrés International des Américanistes, Paris (September 1976): 76-84.

464 Home Rule was introduced on May 1, 1979. In 1982 Greenland voters passed another referendum to withdraw from the European Community. Certain areas, such as foreign affairs and justice, are still managed by Danish authorities, but the Danish government must consult Greenland on all matters relevant to it. The chief connection between the two countries today is economic, as Greenland depends on heavy subsidies from Denmark for solvency. In 2008 Greenland voters overwhelmingly passed another referendum moving Greenland toward full independence from Denmark.

465 As noted in the preceding note, full independence for Greenland, which some speculate could be declared in 2021, the 300th anniversary of Danish colonial rule, will require weaning from generous Danish subsidies averaging $11,000 annually for every Greenlander. The most likely mechanism for this weaning is revenue from oil and gas development, which is being actively encouraged by the Greenland government. So far, thirteen exploration licenses have been issued to companies like ExxonMobil, and another round of licensing will take place in 2010. “Greenland, the New Bonanza,” in The World in 2010, special supplement to The Economist (2009): 54.

466 Canada’s Constitution Act of 1982.

467 The Dene of the Northwest Territories and the southern Yukon were signatories of Treaty 8 or Treaty 11, but these treaties were never fully implemented. Personal communication, D. Perrin, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, November 24, 2009.

468 To make this map, multiple data sources from the Alaska Bureau of Land Management, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. National Atlas, Natural Resources Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada were combined in a Geographic Information System (GIS) as follows: (1) Alaska land claim data were extracted from the Alaska Bureau of Land Management’s Spatial Data Management System. Land claims are represented by Native Patent or Interim Conveyance zones and Native Selected zones, data accessed from (2) Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation boundaries were downloaded from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Geospatial Data Extractor. Boundaries were created from the Bureau of Land Management’s “Alaska Land Status Map” dated June 1987, data accessed from (3) Indian lands of the United States were downloaded from the National Atlas and show areas recognized by the Federal Government as territory in which American Indian tribes have primary governmental authority, administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, data accessed from (4) Indian lands in Canada were downloaded from Natural Resources Canada’s GeoBase. These include surrendered lands or a reserve, as defined in the Indian Act, and Sechelt lands, as defined in the Sechelt Indian Band Self-Government Act, data accessed from (5) Canada land claims were extracted from the ‘Comprehensive Land Claims Map’ from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, updated through late 2009 at

469 After the bloody Pontiac Uprising in which nine British forts were captured, King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which declared that Indians should “not be molested or disturbed” and only the Crown, not private citizens, was allowed to purchase land from them. To this day it is credited as a first legal acknowledgment of aboriginal land claims in Canada. Also, British Columbia refused to extinguish aboriginal title, as per note 462.

470 A second type of modern agreement, called “Specific Claims,” exists in Canada to redress past grievances of aboriginal groups who did sign historic treaties. Many aboriginal groups have pursued, or are pursuing, Specific Claims. However these are typically cash settlements and do not relate to land title.

471 From GIS analysis of aforementioned spatial data I estimate 284,247 km2 of Indian reservations in the conterminous United States and 4,358,247 km2 covered by Canadian land claims agreements as of 2009.

472 As a rule, Lapp is now considered derogatory and should be avoided in favor of Sámi or Saami.

473 Personal interviews with Aili Keskitalo, president, Norwegian Sámi Parliament (Tromsø, January 23, 2007); Nellie Couroyea, chair/CEO, Inavialuit Regional Corporation and former NWT premier (Tromsø, January 23, 2007); Lars-Emil Johansen minister of foreign affairs and former prime minister (Greenland, May 24, 2007); Mike Spence, mayor of Churchill (Manitoba, June 28, 2007); Elisapee Sheutiapik, mayor of Iqaluit (Nunavut, August 5, 2007); Eli Kavik, mayor of Sanikiluaq (Nunavut, August 7, 2007); Richard Glenn, vice-president, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (Barrow, Alaska, August 22, 2008); Tony Penikett, former Yukon premier (Ottawa, June 1, 2009); Mary Simon, president, ITK (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada’s national Inuit organization, Ottawa, June 2, 2009); Ed Schultz, executive director, Council of Yukon First Nations (Ottawa, June 4, 2009).

474 The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) produced the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the “most comprehensive statement of the rights of indigenous peoples ever developed, giving prominence to collective rights to a degree unprecedented in international human rights law,” adopted by the General Assembly September 13, 2007, (accessed September 6, 2009). All five Nordic countries voted in favor of this declaration. Australia, the United States, and Canada voted against it; Russia was one of eleven countries abstaining.

475 Norway’s Finnmark Act of 2005 transferred 96% of Finnmark County’s land ownership to a council called the Finnmark Commission, comprised of representatives from the Sámi Parliament as well as the local and central governments. Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples—Norway: Overview, 2007, (accessed September 10, 2009).

476 According to Aili Keskitalo, president, Norwegian Sámi Parliament, personal interview, Tromsø, January 23, 2007.

477 J. Madslien, “Russia’s Sami Fight for Their Lives,” BBC News, December 21, 2006,

478 M. M. Balzer, “The Tension between Might and Rights: Siberians and Energy Developers in Post-Socialist Binds,” Europe-Asia Studies 58, no.4 (2006): 567-588. See also A. Reid, The Shaman’s Coat: A Native History of Siberia (New York: Walker & Company, 2002), 226 pp.

479 However, outright land ownership is a backburner issue in Russia. Most Russians, including aboriginals, view private land ownership as nonessential and even inappropriate. Aboriginal people are more concerned with winning stewardship, protections from competing uses, and the ability to pass use of the land on to their descendants. G. Fondahl and G. Poelzer, “Aboriginal Land Rights in Russia at the Beginning of the Twenty-first Century,” Polar Record 39, no. 209 (2003): 111-122.

480 A very small aboriginal group called the Yukagir people successfully fought for the adoption of a special law guaranteeing them self-governance in the two townships of Nelemnoe and Andrushkino, where much of their population (1,509 people in 2002) lives. P. 97, Arctic Human Development Report (Akureyri, Iceland: Stefansson Arctic Institute, 2004), 242 pp.

481 S. N. Kharyuchi, “Option (sic) letter by the delegates of the VI Congress of indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation” (open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev and Chairman Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin regarding the sale of twenty-year commercial salmon fishing leases in Kamchatka), May 12, 2009, RAIPON, (accessed September 15, 2009). See also G. Fondahl, A. Sirina, “Rights and Risks: Evenki Concerns Regarding the Proposed Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean Pipeline,” Sibirica 5, no. 2 (2006): 115-138.

482 On September 7, 1995, Aleksandr Pika and eight others disappeared after setting out from the town of Sireniki, Chukotka, by boat. Five days later the overturned boat and five bodies were found, with Pika’s among the unrecovered. Quote is from p. 16, Aleksander Pika, ed., Neotraditionalism in the Russian North (Edmonton: Canadian Circumpolar Institute Press, and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999), 214 pp.

483 Russian Federal Law 82-F3, April 30, 1999, O garantiyakh prav korennykh malochislennykh narodov Rossiyskoy Federatsii (“On guarantees of the rights of the indigenous numerically small peoples of the Russian Federation”); Russian Federal Law 104-F3, July 20, 2000, Ob obshchikh printsipakh organizatsii obshchin korennykh malochislennykh narodov Severa, Sibiri i Dal’nego Vostoka Rossiyskoy Federatsii (“On general principles for organization of obshchinas of the indigenous numerically small peoples of the north, Siberia, and the Far East of the Russian Federation”); Russian Federal Law 104-F3, July 20, 2000, O territoriyakh traditsionnogo prirodopol’-zovaniya korennykh malochislennykh narodov Severa, Sibiri i Dal’nego Vostoka Rossiyskoy Federatsii (“On territories of traditional nature use of the indigenous numerically small peoples of the north, Siberia, and the Far East of the Russian Federation”). Translations by G. Fondahl and G. Poelzer, “Aboriginal Land Rights in Russia at the Beginning of the Twenty-first Century,” Polar Record 39, no. 209 (2003): 111-122.

484 P. 50, Arctic Human Development Report (Akureyri: Stefansson Arctic Institute, 2004), 242 pp.

485 Unlike other NORC countries, Canada currently has no university in the far north, but there is growing pressure to found one. In general, the fights in North America and Greenland will move on from issues of property title and political governance to other problems of education, public health, and the devolution of natural resource revenues, which are beyond the scope of this chapter.

486 E.g., conservation of mass and energy, gas laws, radiative transfer and cloud physics, fundamental geography like the positions and elevations of the continents and size and rotation rate of the planet, proper parameterizations for subgrid processes, and aerosols.

487 R. B. Alley, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 229 pp.

488 K. C. Taylor et al., “The ‘Flickering Switch’ of Late Pleistocene Climate Change,” Nature 361 (1993): 432-436, DOI:10.1038/361432a0; R. B. Alley et al., “Abrupt Increase in Greenland Snow Accumulation at the End of the Younger Dryas Event,” Nature 362 (1993): 527-529, DOI:10.1038/362527a0.

489 B. L. Isacks et al., “Seismology and the New Global Tectonics,” Journal of Geophysical Research 73, no. 18 (1968): 5855-5899.

490 The project ended up with some interesting results after all, thanks in part to Richard Alley. It found that a mathematical technique called wavelet analysis is useful for detecting hidden climate signals in river flow data. L. C. Smith, D. L. Turcotte, B. L. Isacks, “Streamflow Characterization and Feature Detection Using a Discrete Wavelet Transform,” Hydrological Processes 12 (1998): 233-249.

491 Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2, drilled between 1989 and 1993 near the center of Greenland.

492 R. B. Alley et al., “Abrupt Increase in Greenland Snow Accumulation at the End of the Younger Dryas Event,” Nature 362 (1993): 527-529, DOI:10.1038/362527a0.

493 The new CIA climate-change center will assess “the national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources.” CIA Press Release, “CIA Opens Center on Climate Change and National Security,” September 25, 2009, (accessed November 26, 2009). See also J. M. Broder, “Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security,” The New York Times, August 8, 2009.

494 M.B. Burke et al., “Warming Increases the Risk of Civil War in Africa,” PNAS 106, no. 49 (2009): 20670-20674,

495 The most famous and dramatic reversal is the so-called “Younger Dryas” event, an abrupt return to nearly ice-age conditions that began suddenly about 12,700 years ago, then persisted nearly 1,300 years before resumption of warming. Its cause and also the cause of the 8.2 ka event is thought to be a shutdown in ocean thermohaline circulation owing to freshening of the North Atlantic, as will be described shortly. For reviews of the 8.2 ka event, see R. B. Alley, A. M. Ágústsdóttir, “The 8k Event: Cause and Consequences of a Major Holocene Abrupt Climate Change,” Quaternary Science Reviews 24 (2005): 1123-1149; and E. R. Thomas et al., “The 8.2 ka Event from Greenland Ice Cores,” Quaternary Science Reviews 26 (2007): 70-81.

496 Peter Schwartz, Doug Randall, “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security” (October 2003), 22 pp., (accessed September 27, 2009).

497 The flood path for the smaller 8.2 ka event was probably through the Hudson Strait. D. C. Barber et al., “Forcing of the Cold Event of 8,200 Years Ago by Catastrophic Drainage of Laurentide Lakes,” Nature 400 (July 22, 1999): 344-348, DOI:10.1038/22504. It is also hypothesized that the Younger Dryas event was triggered by a flood draining ancient Lake Agassiz through the St. Lawrence Seaway, or possibly a longer route through the Mackenzie River and Arctic Ocean to the North Atlantic. L. Tarasov, W. R. Peltier, “Arctic Freshwater Forcing of the Younger Dryas Cold Reversal, Nature 435 (June 2, 2005): 662-665, DOI:10.1038/nature03617.

498 The story begins with W. S. Broecker, D. M. Peteet, D. Rind, “Does the Ocean-Atmosphere System Have More than One Stable Mode of Operation?” Nature 315 (1985): 21-26. A recent development is Z. Liu et al., “Transient Simulation of Last Deglaciation with a New Mechanism for Bølling-Allerød Warming,” Science 325 (2009): 310-314.

499 A. K. Rennermalm et al., “Relative Sensitivity of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation to River Discharge into Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean,” Journal of Geophysical Research 112 (2007), G04S48, DOI:10.1029/2006JG000330. The IPCC AR4 (2007) gave >90% chance the thermohaline conveyor will remain functioning for the next century.

500 Even at the lowest carbon dioxide scenarios, with stabilization at 450 ppm, this critical threshold is eventually crossed in thirty-four out of thirty-five stabilization scenarios. J. M. Gregory et al., “Climatology: Threatened Loss of the Greenland Ice-Sheet,” Nature 428 (April 8, 2004): 616, DOI:10.1038/428616a.

501 Table 1, G. A. Milne et al., “Identifying the Causes of Sea-Level Change,” Nature Geoscience 2 (June 14, 2009): 471-478, DOI:10.1038/ngeo544. However, keep in mind the Earth had 70% more ice then than it does today, so a four-meters-per-century sea-level rise is not likely to be repeated.

502 Ibid., 496.

503 Ice sheets help to preserve their own existence by creating an elevated surface at high, cold altitudes and by reflecting back much of the sun’s energy. If Greenland’s ice sheet were removed, temperatures over its low, dark bedrock surface would be much warmer than today and the ice sheet unlikely to form again.

504 Especially Shanghai, Osaka-Kobe, Lagos, and Manila. Also affected will be Buenos Aires, Chennai, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Istanbul, Jakarta, Karachi, Kolkata, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Shenzhen, and Tokyo.

505 Geological data suggests the WAIS collapsed 400,000 years ago, and perhaps even 14,500 years ago. P. U. Clark et al., “The Last Glacial Maximum,” Science 325, no. 5941 (August 7, 2009): 710-714, DOI:10.1126/science.1172873. It is also clear the WAIS is currently losing mass, and there is evidence this has been happening for the past 15,000 years in response to rising sea levels initiated by deglaciation in the northern hemisphere. Thus, even limiting greenhouse warming may not lead to the desired stabilization of the ice sheet. J. Oerlemans, “Freezes, Floes, and the Future, Nature 462 (2009): 572-573, DOI:10.1038/462572a.

506 Sea levels are not the same everywhere but vary owing to water pile-up from currents, gravitational attraction, water temperature, crustal rebound, and other factors. The above-average sea-level rise along the U.S. coastline is shown by J. X. Mitrovica et al., “The Sea-Level Fingerprint of West Antarctic Collapse,” Science 323, no. 5915 (February 6, 2009): 753, DOI:10.1126/science.1166510; and J. L. Bamber et al., “Reassessment of the Potential Sea-Level Rise from a Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet,” Science 324, no. 5929 (May 15, 2009): 901-903, DOI:10.1126/science.1169335. The latter study also suggests a global average sea-level increase of 3.2 meters for a WAIS collapse, lower than the five-meter estimate by the IPCC AR4.

507 For more, see D. G. Vaughan, R. Arthern, “Why Is It Hard to Predict the Future of Ice Sheets?” Science 315, no. 5818 (2007): 1503-1504, DOI:10.1126/science.1141111; and R. B. Alley et al., “Understanding Glacier Flow in Changing Times,” Science 322 (2008): 1061-1062.

508 S. A. Zimov et al., “Permafrost and the Global Carbon Budget,” Science 312, no. 5780 (2006): 1612-1613, DOI:10.1126/science.1128908; E. A. G. Schuur et al., “Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change: Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle,” Bioscience 58, no. 8 (2008): 701-714; C. Tarnocai et al., “Soil Organic Carbon Pools in the Northern Circumpolar Permafrost Region,” Global Biogeochemical Cycles 23, GB2023 (2009), DOI:10.1029/2008GB003327.

509 For more on the challenges surrounding this problem, see S. E. Trumbore, C. I. Czimczik, “An Uncertain Future for Soil Carbon,” Science 321 (2008): 1455-1456.

510 By drilling cores to the bottom of peatlands and radiocarbon dating their age, we know that northern peatlands started spreading quickly about 11,700 years ago as the Younger Dryas cold period ended. This methane shows up in ice cores of Greenland and Antarctica. L. C. Smith et al., “Siberian Peatlands a Net Carbon Sink and Global Methane Source since the Early Holocene,” Science 303 (2004): 353-356; and G. M. MacDonald et al., “Rapid Early Development of Circumarctic Peatlands and Atmospheric CH4 and CO2 Variations,” Science 314 (2006): 285-288. Sweden study is E. Dorrepaal et al., “Carbon Respiration from Subsurface Peat Accelerated by Climate Warming in the Subarctic,” Nature 460 (2009): 616-619, DOI:10.1038/nature08216. The two West Siberia studies are K. E. Frey and L. C. Smith, “Amplified Carbon Release from Vast West Siberian Peatlands by 2100,” Geophysical Research Letters 32, L09401 (2005), DOI:10.1029/2004GL022025, 2005; and D. W. Beilman et al., “Carbon Accumulation in Peatlands of West Siberia over the Last 2000 Years,” Global Biogeochemical Cycles 23, GB1012 (2009), DOI:10.1029/2007GB003112. Alaska study is E. A. G. Schuur et al., “The Effect of Permafrost Thaw on Old Carbon Release and Net Carbon Exchange from Tundra,” Nature 459 (2009): 556-559, DOI:10.1038/nature08031.

511 In other words a large generation of parents born when fertility was still high. Population momentum also works in reverse—for example, elderly countries would continue to shrink even if fertility were increased, owing to a small generation of parents born when fertility was low.

512 As a percentage of GNP, over the period 1880-1913 national investment and national savings were more strongly correlated in the industrialized countries than they were in 1999, meaning that investment today relies more on domestic saving and less on foreign investment than it did in 1913. Pp. 89-90 and Figure 3.3, P. Knox et al., The Geography of the World Economy, 4th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 437 pp.

513 Just before World War I broke out, merchandise trade averaged 12% of gross national output for industrialized nations, a level not attained again until the 1970s. P. 32, M. B. Steger, Globalization: A Very Short Introduction(New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 147 pp.

514 Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World (Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Intelligence Council, 2008), 99 pp.

515 “Green with Envy: The Tension between Free Trade and Capping Emissions,” The Economist, November 21, 2009.

516 Nataliya Ryzhova and Grigory Ioffe document hyberbolic assertions ranging from ten to twelve million Chinese already inside Russia to predictions of forty million by the year 2020. Russian migration scholars estimate a current figure of only four hundred thousand Chinese. N. Ryzhova, G. Ioffe, “Trans-border Exchange between Russia and China: The Case of Blagoveshchensk and Heihe,” Eurasian Geography and Economics 50, no. 3 (2009): 348-364, DOI:10.2747/1539-7216.50.3.348.

517 Ryzhova and Ioffe note thirty-four thousand Chinese labor migrants in Amur Oblast versus an official statistic of just 435. Ibid.

518 B. Lo, “The Long Sunset of Strategic Partnership: Russia’s Evolving China Policy,” International Affairs 80, no. 2 (2004): 295-309. This contested island was finally ceded to China in 1991.

519 W-J Kim, “Cooperation and Conflict among Provinces: The Three Northeastern Provinces of China, the Russian Far East, and Sinuiju, North Korea,” Issues & Studies 44, no. 3 (September 2008): 205-227. “Development of Trade and Economic Collaboration between China and Primorye Discussed in Vladivostok,” (accessed March 11, 2010).

520 In 2004 Turkey signed a deal to send water by supertanker to Israel. The program has since struggled off and on, but Israel has floated the idea of a water pipeline from Turkey. C. Recknagel, “Can ‘Wet’ Countries Export Water to ‘Dry’ Ones?” Radio Free Europe, March 21, 2009,

521 As of 2009 the eastern route is mostly done, the central route is anticipated for 2014, and the controversial western route through mountains slated for completion in 2050. S. Oster, “China Slows Water Project,” The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2008.

522 P. Annin, The Great Lakes Water Wars (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2006), 303 pp.

523 Québec premier Robert Bourassa and future prime minister John Turner. R. MacGregor, “A Visionary’s Epiphany about Water,” The Globe and Mail, October 5, 2009, See also pp. 60-63, P. Annin, The Great Lakes Water Wars (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2006), 303 pp.

524 Modeling studies suggest that the GRAND Canal project would delay spring ice-out on Hudson Bay as much as a month each year, causing colder, wetter conditions locally during the peak of the growing season, a change in coastal flora, the retreat of forests from the coast, and the growth of permafrost. W. R. Rouse, M-K Woo, J. S. Price, “Damming James Bay: 1. Potential Impacts on Coastal Climate and the Water Balance,” The Canadian Geographer 36, no. 1 (1992): 2-7.

525 F. Pierre Gingras, “Northern Waters: A Realistic, Sustainable and Profitable Plan to Exploit Quebec’s Blue Gold,” Montreal Economic Institute, Economic Notes (special edition, July 2009),

526 P. Micklin, “‘Project of the Century’: The Siberian Water Transfer Scheme,” paper prepared for Engineering Earth; the Impacts of Megaengineering Projects, University of Kentucky, July 21-24, 2008.

527 In 2004. “Luzhkov Wants to Reverse a River,” The Moscow Times, December 10, 2002; N. N. Mikheyev, “Voda bez granits (Water without Limits),” Melioratsiya i vodnoye khozyaystvo 1 (2002):32-34; see also F. Pearce, “Russia Reviving Massive River Diversion Plan,” New Scientist, February 9, 2009,; and P. Micklin, “The Aral Sea Crisis and Its Future: An Assessment in 2006,” Eurasian Geography and Economics 47, no. 5 (2006): 546-567, DOI:10.2747/1538-7216.47.5.546.

528 The Ob’, Yenisei, and Lena rivers dump significant amounts of freshwater into the Arctic Ocean, much of which freezes into sea ice, then eventually flushes out through Fram Strait or the Canadian Archipelago toward the North Atlantic, where it melts, freshening ocean surface waters and thus impeding deepwater sinking of the thermohaline circulation.

529 The European Space Agency’s first CryoSat satellite cost about €140 million but was destroyed in a 2005 launch failure; a follow-up CryoSat-2 was built and launched successfully in April 2010. NASA launched its first ICESat in 2003 and is building two more ice-seeking satellites, ICESat-II and DESDynI, slated for launch around 2015; a total capital investment of USD $2 billion seems likely for these three satellite missions. For more background, see Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond, Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space: A Community Assessment and Strategy for the Future (Washington, D.C.: National Research Council, 2007), ISBN: 978-0-309-10387-9, 456 pp.

530 This paragraph refers to details presented earlier in the book, including U.S. naval exercises off Alaska’s North Slope, Norway’s recent purchase of five Aegis-armed frigates and nearly fifty F-35 fighter jets, and Samsung’s pursuit of a polar tanker vessel to transport liquefied natural gas from Arctic waters. The total amount received by the U.S. Minerals Management Service from energy companies for an Arctic offshore lease sale totaled USD $2.7 billion in 2008.

531 Arctic Council, AMSA, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009: 77-79.

532 From GIS analysis of global map data I calculate the following in square kilometers for the world’s planetary surface area, land extent, ice-free land extent, and ice-free/permafrost-free land extent, respectively. World: 508,779,504 km2, 147,263,072 km2, 132,801,596 km2 and 109,508,640 km2, respectively. North of 45° N: 74,697,936 km2, 40,364, 452 km2, 38,212,960 km2, and 17,100,072 km2. North of Arctic Circle: 21,239,512 km2, 7,930,424 km2, 6,159,648 km2, and 271,632 km2. By all measures, we see the Arctic proper (between 66.55º and 90º N latitude) is truly a tiny place.

533 This particular geographic definition of the “Arctic,” proposed in the 2004 Arctic Human Development Report, encompasses all of Alaska; Canada north of 60° N latitude together with northern Québec and Labrador; all of Greenland and the Faroe Islands; Iceland; the northernmost counties of Norway, Sweden, and Finland; and in Russia the Murmansk Oblast, the Nenets, Yamalo-Nenets, Taimyr, and Chukotka autonomous okrugs, Vorkuta City in the Komi Republic, Noril’sk and Igarka in Krasnoyarsky Kray, and parts of the Sakha Republic lying closest to the Arctic Circle. Pp. 17-18, Arctic Human Development Report (Akureyri, Iceland: Stefansson Arctic Institute, 2004), 242 pp.

534 USA North, defined as states touching or lying north of 45° N latitude. Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin all graze the 45th parallel and are contained within a NORC country as per the “North” definition in Chapter 1. Excluding New York State would lower the NORC totals to $5.944 trillion GDP, 31,837,087 km2 land area, and 235,059,000 people.

535 The so-called “resource curse” refers to empirical evidence that states with abundant resource wealth perform less well than resource-poor ones, but there is little consensus about why this is. See M. L. Ross, “The Political Economy of the Resource Curse,” World Politics 51 (1999): 297-322; C. N. Brunnschweiler, E. H. Bulte, “The Resource Curse Revisited and Revised: A Tale of Paradoxes and Red Herrings,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 55, no. 3 (2008): 248-264.

536 The bulk of the Arctic economy is based on commodity exports. Public services comprise 20%-40% GDP, transportation accounts for some 5%-12%, with tourism and retail significant only in particular areas. In 2001 the total Arctic economy was U.S. $230 billion (in purchasing power parity), with Arctic defined as all of Alaska (USA); Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Labrador (Canada); Greenland and the Faroe Islands (Denmark); Iceland; Nordland, Troms, Finnmark, and Svalbard (Norway); Västerbotten and Norrbotten (Sweden); Oulu and Lapland (Finland); and the republics of Karelia, Komi, and Sakha; the oblasts of Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Tyumen, Kamchatka, and Magadan; the autonomous okrugs of Nenets, Khanty-Mansii, Yamal-Nenets, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Taimyr, Evenk, Koryak, and Chukchi (Russian Federation). “Public services” includes public administration, health care, and education. “Economic Systems,” pp. 59-84 of Arctic Human Development Report (Akureyri, Iceland: Stefansson Arctic Institute, 2004), 242 pp.

537 NTCL, founded in 1934 as Northern Waterways Limited, was purchased in 1985 by the Inuvialuit Development Corporation and Nunasi Corporation, making it a 100% private, aboriginal-owned company. For more, see