Northern Temperatures Rising
You’ve probably heard the old joke about Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory: it’s not the end of the world, but if you look hard enough, you can see it from here. These days, the joke isn’t quite so funny anymore. Climate change has arrived in the Yukon. And although climate change doesn’t actually herald imminent global disaster, it does have dark implications for existing Yukon ecosystems.
The Yukon is one of the planet’s climate-change hot spots, a fact that has attracted considerable interest in the academic research community. At the same time, the Yukon government is working hard to attract the interest of the oil-and-gas industry. Both exploration and research are touted by government as sources of economic diversity and job creation. The government argument is that work for Yukoners will be created by establishing an oil-and-gas sector. Perversely, too, the Yukon will create academic and industry opportunities in the study of–and adaptation to–climate change! This is ecological madness, sort of like paying someone to burn down their house in order to develop their firefighting skills.