"Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday
Politicians and grass roots organizers alike have long warned of the disastrous effects of climate change, but in statements that have sparked backlash on social media, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the change could be good for the economy.
Pompeo, 55, spoke at a meeting of the Arctic Council on Monday in Rovaniemi, Finland, about the Arctic and its declining levels of sea ice, boasting that the deteriorating region “is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance.”
“It houses 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore,” Pompeo said.
“Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade,” he continued. “This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days. Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.”
Scientists have determined that the Arctic is warming faster than any other region, with the ice covering its waters shrinking by almost 13 percent each decade, NASA reported. Scientists say global warming is largely to blame for the disappearing sea ice, according to the New York Times, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program has noted that the loss of sea ice promotes warmer global water temperatures.
The group also notes that “the loss of ice increases the risk of erosion along coastlines and changes the presence of marine species in certain areas, affecting commercial fish stocks and the economies of some coastal towns,” according to CNN.
A recent report from the National Snow & Ice Data Center found in just one year’s time, there were 89,000 fewer square miles of sea ice in the Arctic, according to CNN.
Still, Pompeo said the endangered region can promote “renewed competition” between the U.S., China and Russia, adding that President Donald Trump is “committed to leveraging resources in environmentally responsible ways.”
“The United States is achieving our reductions the American way: through scientific work, through technology, through building out safe and secure energy infrastructure, and through our economic growth, and doing it in a way that doesn’t stifle development with burdensome regulations that only create more risk to the environment,” he continued.
Pompeo did not use the phrase “climate change” in his remarks, later telling a Finnish news publication that “we should put all our emphasis on is outcomes,” CNN reported.
His comments did not go over too well on Twitter. One social media user chalked Pompeo’s comments up to “human greed,” while another added, “Everything isn’t about money. Everything isn’t about winning.”