Tag: Polar Bears

Once more unto the (climate) breach

I hope she brought her SCUBA gear.

I hope she brought her SCUBA gear.

I just happened upon a Foreign Policy piece from May 6 of this year framing climate change as a ‘Clear and Present Danger’. To summarize, the author argues that Obama’s plans to address climate change are a political non-starter in the US: Republicans are generally more opposed to carbon control policy than ever and the public is out to lunch on the subject. The solution, according to the author, is to invoke national security and get the military—a key Republican constituency—talking about how much climate change imperils national security. As a scholar of international security who does research on climate change (in collaboration with Janelle Knox-Hayes), my interest was immediately piqued.

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The Looming Threat

I assumed the data on Svalbard military spending was a mistake. But now I’m becoming quite concerned. David Johnston uncovers more about the possible threat from Svalbard.

The island will soon be home to a Doomsday facility.

David questions whether the bunker is really just a seed vault. Given our information about Svalbard’s immense per capita military expenditures–which in absolute terms dwarf its “official” GDP–I think he’s right to be skeptical. When we combine these facts with the looming Polar Bear threat–territorial losses and foreign occupations breed, as we all know, suicide terrorism–perhaps the US is focusing undue attention on Iran and North Korea. The true threat may lie in Svalbard.

But, and here’s an even more frightening thought, what if the “Doomsday” vault really is a seed bank?

Why would Svalbard be hoarding seeds in a facility designed to insulate them against future catastrophes? What could Svalbard be planning?



The Svalbard Threat

Artist’s rendition of the Svalbard Air, Nuclear, Land, Sea, and Polar Bear Forces

Can someone explain to me why the CIA World Factbook lists Svalbard as ranking 22nd in military defense expenditures (at $ 5,501,000,000)?

Most of the sources I can find seem to agree that Svalbard, a territory of Norway, was demilitarized as part of the 1920 Paris Treaty.

I’m not the only one to have noticed this, of course.

Is someone at the Agency a Pullman fan?


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