It’s an irony overload: Exxon Mobil is partnering with the US Navy to understand how the global warming it helped cause will affect shipping routes:
Executives from top U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart and Exxon, are teaming up with the U.S. Navy this week in a “gaming” exercise to study how a warming Arctic Ocean and the widening of the Panama Canal could dramatically change global shipping.
The complex two-day exercise, which begins Wednesday at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, will look at the security concerns and massive investments that may be necessary to cope with the shake up of global trade routes.
Other companies taking part in the “Global Shipping Game” include Lowe’s, shipping giant Maersk, Raytheon Co, computer maker Dell, Zurich Insurance, toymaker Hasbro Inc, General Electric Co and railway operator CSX.
Just a few years later, he says, the warming of the Arctic Ocean will open the world’s fifth ocean to fishing, tourism, oil and gas drilling, and eventually commercial shipping.
“We have not seen a change like that since the end of the ice age,” he told a conference last month. “It’s one that will have a significant effect on trade and on prosperity.”
ARCTIC SHIPPING ROUTES
A major Pentagon review released last February urged the military to reduce the risks associated with climate change, including cutting its dependence on fossil fuels.
Roughead said the Navy was working hard to develop biofuels and improve energy efficiency, but also needed to think about the impact of rising sea levels on big coastal areas and changes in the formerly frozen Arctic.
Navy scientists say commercial shippers could save 5,000 miles and lots of fuel by using sending goods from Asia to Europe via the Arctic beginning in the mid-2030s, when they expect ice-free conditions for a full month each year.
It’s quite telling, really. Even while many people remain ignorant of global warming, profit-driven businesspeople are already planning for a warmer world. If even Exxon is banking money on an ice-free arctic, isn’t it about time the rest of us acknowledge that this global warming thing is real?