New Arctic sea routes predicted by 2050

Tease the day: UCLA researchers suggest traffic in Canada’s north will spike
Nick Taylor-Vaisey
Ice floes float in Baffin Bay above the Arctic circle from the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent on July 10, 2008. Research suggests that last year’s record loss of Arctic sea ice is already causing big changes that scientists are just starting to understand for plants and animals.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Jonathan Hayward/CP

Laurence C. Smith might be American, but he’s one of the great Wilfrid Laurier impersonators of his time. Smith, you see, is a UCLA researcher who writes about the Arctic’s future. A couple of years ago, he published a book entitled, The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future. In that book, the Ottawa Citizen‘s Randy Boswell writes this morning, Smith predicts Canada “will emerge as a major world power by the middle of the 21st century as climate change transforms global trade, agriculture and geopolitics.” Bold prediction.

This morning, Boswell alerts us to Smith’s latest work: the prediction of new shipping routes through Canada’s northern waters, once Arctic sea ice melts sufficiently to allow the new traffic. The new routes provide opportunities and challenges, Boswell writes, and it’s up to Arctic nations, including Canada, to plan for that future. So, Canada, look north. And get ready to fulfil Laurier’s dream that we own a century, even if it comes about a century and a half later than he would have liked.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the potential upgrade of CF-18 fighter jets while the government determines which next-generation airplane to purchase. The National Post fronts a restaurant’s controversial decision to fly the Confederate flag in its window. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with dozens of unlicenced driving schools in the Greater Toronto Area. The Ottawa Citizen leads with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s non-answer when asked if he’d appoint NDP senators. iPolitics fronts a screening of the CBC’s Jack Layton bio-pic. leads with Peter Mansbridge’s interview with Marc Cardinal Ouellet, a contender to become the next pope. National Newswatch showcases The Globe‘s CF-18 scoop.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Arctic traffic. Canada’s north will see a spike in shipping traffic by mid-century, argue two American researchers who analyzed expected routes once sea ice melts.2. Oil sands. Two energy companies in northern Alberta should be investigated for belching emissions that ended up in the Athabasca River, says Vancouver-based Ecojustice.
3. Border. Canadian businesses are complaining about a policy that allows border officials to waive duty charges in various circumstances, a move they say puts them at a disadvantage.4. Blood expiry. A new study suggests blood “suffers irreversible damage” after it’s stored for three weeks, long before the six weeks that Canadian Blood Services stores its stock.