Reaping the fruits of our disfavours? / Columns / The Foreigner

Reaping the fruits of our disfavours?. Does growing strawberries north of the Arctic Circle perhaps mean that climate change is not so bad after all? A project dealing with a similar issue, called Portraits of Resilience, had one Greenlander describe how the post-winter sun returns earlier because of climate change. The warmer air temperature means that the mountain snow to the east melts sooner. In the spring, less snow height on the mountains lets the sun peek over the peaks earlier.

norwayclimate, climatechange, greenhousegases, co2



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Reaping the fruits of our disfavours?

Published on Saturday, 6th April, 2013 at 08:54 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

Does growing strawberries north of the Arctic Circle perhaps mean that climate change is not so bad after all?

Do we want fruit anywhere, anytime?
Do we want fruit anywhere, anytime?
Photo: Ilan Kelman


A project dealing with a similar issue, called Portraits of Resilience, had one Greenlander describe how the post-winter sun returns earlier because of climate change.

The warmer air temperature means that the mountain snow to the east melts sooner. In the spring, less snow height on the mountains lets the sun peek over the peaks earlier.

Winners and losers from climate change is not a new idea. One of the first publications was by Colorado’s Michael Glantz in 1989.

Yet no one should claim that the devastation expected from climate change around the Arctic, and around the world, would be worth the few perks gained.

Trade-offs always appear. More time for reindeer to eat in the summer--due to a longer growing season--might seem to be helpful, but harsher Arctic winters under climate change could wipe out any summer gains.

Reindeer could have significant problems feeding in the winter what with deeper snow and thicker ice crusts due to climate change.

If our concern about northern lifestyles is fresh food throughout the year, especially fruit and vegetables, then more comprehensive local food solutions should be pursued, rather than relying on climate change to give food-related opportunities. Everyone could try small-scale growing on their window sills, or in enclosed verandas if available.

Bananas and other exotics have long been grown in Iceland through geothermally heated greenhouses. Could greenhouses be built much farther north, in areas without geothermal power?

Each greenhouse could have its heating and lighting powered by a small windmill on it, or a dedicated heat pump. That would be a local, self-contained unit providing an apartment block or some houses with their own produce, year-round.

This approach supports local sustainability more widely--including climate change, but well beyond that single issue.

We should not thank fossil fuels for offering us strawberries in the depth of winter--at the cost of far too much. Instead, we should be building sustainable and healthy lifestyles no matter what the climate does.

Dr. Ilan Kelman is a Senior Research Fellowat the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO).



Published on Saturday, 6th April, 2013 at 08:54 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: norwayclimate, climatechange, greenhousegases, co2.





  
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