Some say Arctic sea ice is melting and will soon disappear completely. Sea level will rise, polar bears will drown. Some say we can replace fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel with alternatives like solar, wind, and geothermal energy. We've all heard the bogus stories and unrealistic claims. Well, we're now seeing how this la-la land dreaming is playing out this winter in Nome, Alaska.
All the Billions spent on climate modeling, the United Nations cajoling and bullying of lawmakers and taxpayers, and the predictions of catastrophic warming seem like a cruel joke. I bet the people of Nome wish Al Gore could be there with them to warm things up a bit and share the fun.
See the following article from the hypocritical New York Times, long a perpetuator of the myth of man-caused global warming, for the story.
January 9, 2012
A New Race of Mercy to Nome, This Time Without Sled Dogs
By WILLIAM YARDLEY
NOME, Alaska — In the winter of 1925, long after this Gold Rush boomtown on the Bering Sea had gone bust, diphtheria swept through its population of 1,400. Medicine ran dangerously low, and there was no easy way to get more. No roads led here, flight was ruled out and Norton Sound was frozen solid.
Parents still read books to their children about what happened next: Balto, Togo, Fritz and dozens more sled dogs sprinted through subzero temperatures across 674 miles of sea ice and tundra in what became known as the Great Race of Mercy. The medicine made it, Nome was saved and the Siberian huskies became American heroes.
Eighty-seven years later, Nome is again locked in a dark and frigid winter — a record cold spell has pushed temperatures to minus 40 degrees, cracked hotel pipes and even reduced turnout at the Mighty Musk Oxen’s pickup hockey games. And now another historic rescue effort is under way across the frozen sea.
Yet while the dogs needed only five and a half days, Renda the Russian tanker has been en route for nearly a month — and it is unclear whether she will ever arrive. The tanker is slogging through sea ice behind a Coast Guard icebreaker, trying to bring not medicine but another commodity increasingly precious in remote parts of Alaska: fuel, 1.3 million gallons of emergency gasoline and diesel to heat snow-cloaked homes and power the growing number of trucks, sport utility vehicles and snow machines that have long since replaced dogsleds.
For the moment, this latest tale appears less likely to produce a warm children’s book than an embarrassing memo, and maybe a few lawsuits, about how it all could have been avoided.
“People need to get fired over this,” said David Tunley, one of the few Musk Oxen at the outdoor rink on an evening when the temperature was minus 23. “The litigation of whose fault it is will probably go on forever.”
How Nome ended up short on fuel this winter is a complicated issue unto itself, but trying to get the Renda here to help has become a sub-Arctic odyssey — and perhaps a clunky practice run for a future in which climate change and commercial interests make shipping through Arctic routes more common.
“There is a lot of good knowledge that is coming out of this,” said Rear Adm. Thomas P. Ostebo, the officer in charge of the Coast Guard in Alaska.
The learning curve has been steep. Since leaving Vladivostok, Russia, on Dec. 17, the 370-foot Renda has encountered a fuel mix-up in South Korea and storms that prevented it from going to Japan; it has received a waiver of the Jones Act in the United States (to allow the foreign vessel to finally pick up gasoline in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, before transporting it to Nome) and broad support for its mission from Alaska’s Congressional delegation; it has been joined by the Coast Guard’s only operative icebreaker built for the Arctic, the Healy. It has had to alter its route to avoid the world’s most substantial population of a federally protected sea duck called the spectacled eider.
As of Monday, the Renda and the Healy were about 140 miles south of Nome, having made little progress from the night before. Wind, current and the brutal cold are causing complications with breaking what is known as first-year ice — the kind that forms each winter and melts in the summer as opposed to lasting year-round. As soon as the Healy breaks open a channel, ice closes in behind it, squeezing the Renda.
The Coast Guard has been among the most vocal government agencies in asking for more money and better equipment to deal with increased commercial activity in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Admiral Ostebo said the Healy, a medium-duty icebreaker, was fully capable of making the trip to Nome but that using a heavy-duty polar icebreaker — the Coast Guard owns two: one is retired, the other under repair until at least 2014 — might have made a difference.
He said the Coast Guard had thought that having the Healy lead the Renda would have been easier, “but it turns out that the pressure that ice is under quite frankly makes it hard to move through for the Renda.” He said these were “conditions I think we’re going to see a lot in the future.”
If the Renda reaches Nome, it would be making the first maritime fuel delivery through sea ice in Alaska history. The effort comes as many interested parties are anticipating business that could develop as Shell plans to conduct new exploratory offshore oil drilling just north of here as early as this summer.
“These are not cowboys out here trying to do crazy things,” said Mark Smith, the chief executive of Vitus Marine, the Alaska company that proposed using the Renda to representatives for Nome. “All of the stakeholders involved in this mission look at it as a learning experience as they consider further development.”
Nome usually receives its winter supply of fuel in early fall, before ice hardens over the Bering. But last fall, multiple shipping delays and then a major storm prevented the fall shipment from arriving. Many people here blame Bonanza Fuel, one of two local companies that barge in fuel and the one that failed to ensure its fall delivery made it. But the fuel company’s owner blamed the barge company for delaying shipments.
“Certainly we’ll evaluate how this situation came together,” said Jason Evans, the chairman of the Sitnasuak Native Corporation, which owns Bonanza, “so that we’re not put in this situation and the community of Nome’s not put in this situation again.”
Officials say Nome could run out of heating oil by March. A normal fuel barge cannot make the trip until ice melts in June or July.
Dogs still pull sleds to Nome, in the annual Iditarod race each March, but there are still no roads here from outside. There are, however, more modern means of transportation. Mr. Evans said Nome could resort to flying in fuel through hundreds of small shipments but that shipping costs alone would be more than $3 per gallon. Fuel here already approaches $6. Conservation can only go so far.
“You have to heat your home when it’s 36 below,” he said.
The effort has prompted observers far and wide to comment on what it all means as the United States tries to figure out how to navigate the increasingly important Arctic. One question not to ask here: Regardless of how it came to this, is tiny Nome worth all the effort?
“Why should we be treated any differently than the Lower 48?” said Mayor Denise L. Michels, noting that the Coast Guard also escorts commercial shipments through ice and difficult conditions in the Great Lakes and off the East Coast. “We keep saying that we are an Arctic nation.”