Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly celebrated the reduced sea ice in the Arctic in a speech Monday and called it a possible economic opportunity. According to CNN, in remarks while he was in Rovaniemi, Finland, Pompeo said the “steady reductions in sea ice” would open “new passageways and new opportunities for trade.” “This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days,” the secretary stated. “Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.” Pompeo also called the region, which has lost nearly 90,000 square miles of sea ice since last year, the “forefront of opportunity and abundance.” “It houses 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore,” he said. In a new report, the National Snow & Ice Data Center concluded that Arctic sea ice that was four years or older comprised only 1.2 percent of the ice cover. Pompeo delivered his speech on the same day the United Nations released a report concluding that 1 million species are at risk of extinction due to humans, including their role in instigating climate change.
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