Arctic Thaw: Climate Change and the Global Race for Energy Resources

64p. bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Oct. 2014. RTE $34.60. ISBN 9781467720434. LC 2013025164.
Gr 6 Up—An important case study and source of current information for serious students of climate change. Drawing almost exclusively from recent documents and news reports, McPherson surveys the ambitious, conflicting, and increasingly hostile claims that the major countries circling the Arctic have made on the polar region's major oil and gas resources. Along with showing how melting ice has already opened both the Northwest (over Canada) and the Northeast (over Russia) Passages to shipping, she frankly explores the ecological and economic challenges faced by indigenous peoples and by Greenland, which is inching its way toward independence over vast and increasingly accessible reserves of oil, rare earths, and other potentially lucrative natural resources. The author closes with a consideration of sources of renewable energy, including Russia's potentially alarming plan to build multiple floating nuclear reactors in Arctic waters, and generous lists of relevant print and web documents. Revealing maps and small but often telling color photos underscore the idea that serious climate change isn't just coming to this region; it has already arrived.—John Peters, Children's Literature Consultant, New York City
Illustrated with excellent photos and charts, here's an up-to-date, well-informed overview of international interest in and controversies over the Arctic region, with a balanced look at effects on its resources as the polar ice cap diminishes. From potential energy sources to impacts on indigenous people, McPherson covers the "high hopes and harsh realities" of the region. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Stephanie Sammartino McPherson offers a comprehensive look at the many environmental, economic, and cultural debates that have emerged as a result of recent warming in the Arctic. Coverage of both negative and positive effects of Artic thaw provides an unbiased introduction to controversial issues. For example, new, shorter ship routes through areas that were once ice sheets could reduce fossil fuel consumption, but incoming vessels may also introduce invasive species to Arctic waters. Information is presented in a variety of appealing ways, including anecdotes from Arctic expeditions and interesting quotes from reputable sources. For instance, Walt Meier, a NASA expert on glaciers, says, “In the 1980s, the Arctic sea ice at the end of the summer was about the size of the lower forty-eight states.” Now, the area of ice has shrunk by the equivalent of “everything east of the Mississippi [River] and even a bit west of the Mississippi.” Cohesive design and key visuals—such as satellite images of Arctic ice coverage and a photograph of an Alaskan Inupiat home toppled due to an eroding shoreline—make this an eye-catching volume.

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