Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Forecast

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Forecast

The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley

by Stephan Faris

Forecast by Stephan Faris
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2008, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Beth Hemke Shapiro

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Hammerfest & The Snow White Project
Global warming usually suggests images of wild tempests and massive floods, but some countries are trying to tap into what they see as potential benefits of climate change. One of the numerous fascinating places that Stephan Faris visited to collect material for Forecast is Hammerfest in northern Norway.  Billing itself as the northernmost city in the world, this small Arctic city has witnessed a recent explosion of growth and tourism thanks to melting ice and the resulting increase of maritime accessibility.


Although the sun vanishes each December and January, about 200,000 tourists flock to Hammerfest annually, including the passengers from about 40 visiting cruise ships who visit during the summer months.

It isn't just tourists who are starting to visit the port of Hammerfest but also those involved in the energy business. Some estimates hold that as much as one-fourth of the earth's oil and natural gas reserves* lie untapped in the Arctic. Eighty-seven miles off the shores of Hammerfest in the Berents Sea, the "Snow White" project is working to exploit a natural gas field, which will be piped to a small island close to Hammerfest, liquefied, and then transported to its final destination by sea. This access to previously untouched resources is a boon for Norway, as well as for other western European countries, with its potential to reduce European dependency on Russian gas.

Liquefied natural gas currently accounts for 25% of the global natural gas trade, and some analysts believe that the market will increase by 8% a year until 2025. A number of countries are investing in liquefying technology including the State of Qatar, Algeria, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Interesting Link
An article in the New York Times in which Faris writes about Greenland's plan to ride global warming to independence.

1st photo shows the town of Hammerfest; the second shows the gas liquification facility on the Norwegian island of Melkøya.

This article was originally published in January 2009, and has been updated for the September 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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