Naysayers among us might look at the prospect of catastrophic climate change, and see nothing but doom and gloom: mass extinctions, flooded coastal cities, and other semi-apocalyptic outcomes for planet Earth’s increasingly fragile ecosystem. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, is not one of those people. He’s an optimist, cheerfully swigging from a glass half full of melted polar ice cap.
Speaking at a summit in Finland on Monday, Pompeo cast one of the major effects of climate change—the melting polar ice caps—not as a catastrophe but as a potential boon. Why? Because it will enable us to sell more things, more quickly.
“Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunity for trade. This could potentially slash the time it stakes to travel between Asia and the west by as much as 20 days,” Pompeo explained. “Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.”
He also salivated over the fact that the Arctic “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.”
Ironically, Pompeo’s speech, which largely focused on U.S. Arctic policy in relation to—and in competition with—that of Russia and China, also featured a large portion dedicated to how great America has been for the environment.
So, not only is America doing peachy-keen when it comes to climate change, but even if the polar ice caps melt a little bit, at least we’ll have some new places to drive our big boats full of that sweet, sweet merchandise.