Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Economic Effects of Global Warming in Greenland

Source: International Herald Tribune "As temperatures rise, a greening of Greenland"

Thanks to warmer temperatures in Greenland, old trees throughout Greenland are coming back to life and growing again. The temperature is also increasing the supply of locally grown cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and other vegetables. In addition, numerous farmers are experimenting with growing potatoes.

Currently, Greenland has only 51 farms – all sheep farms – and most of the vegetables Greenlanders eat are imported from Denmark. However, Greenland’s chief agriculture adviser believes that southern Greenland can eventually be full of vegetable farms and viable forests.

Greenland’s great ice sheet in the north covers 80% of the island’s land mass and is rapidly melting. As the ice melts, sea levels will rise. However, in the subartic south, the changes of global warming are more subtle and beneficial. As Greenland’s chief agriculture adviser points out, a few degrees can make a large impact in Greenland’s southern climate because the limiting factor for human survival is temperature.

Examples of the warmer climate’s positive effects include a shorter winter, the reappearance of cod off the coast, fatter lambs, successful strawberry crops, numerous strains of potatoes, and annual flowers. As temperatures continue to rise these effects should become even more obvious.

The change will not be easy for sum, as one Greenlander thinks that it will take time for Greenlanders to change their way of living and being – Greenlanders are known as hunters. However, the same individual believes that things can grow in south Greenland.

Questions for discussion: What other “benefits” does global warming have in store for Greenland and other countries? Are there ways to enjoy the benefits of global warming without experiencing the negatives of global warming?

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