Greenland Seeks Independence, Control Of Natural Resources
Energy crisis and melting ice has opened up new opportunities for the countries near the North Pole. But one region is caught in the midst of this new energy tug-of-war. Greenland, which is a part of Denmark, is planning to demand more autonomy and eventually independence from the Dutch rule. The decision is gathering momentum as the ice of the polar caps melts which would uncover possibly millions of tonnes of metal ores, precious stones and billions of barrels of untapped oil reserves.
Russia, Canada and United States of America are among the so-called ‘energy vultures’ hovering over these vast reserves of natural resources. Each, in its own way, is trying to cement its right over the island’s resources. US and Canada sent ships to survey the offshore reserves while Russia, in a more dramatic show of strength, planted a Russian flag on the ocean floor near the North Pole (possibly worried about losing the race for new energy).
In the middle of all this, Greenland will be holding a referendum in November this year which, if passed, would give more powers to the local government. The Greenlandic Prime Minister has also indicated that the island would pitch for complete independence and might declare independence as early as June 2009.
Although the call for independence for the Dutch had been echoing for decades now but have now found the new, and quite ironic, support of the melting ice. Even as the melting ice caps reshape the island’s geography and its inhabitants’ lifestyle, it also gives them an ‘economic free-pass’ which would help them survive once they completely detach themselves from Denmark which currently is responsible for 40% of the total GDP of Greenland.
But the people of Greenland, who are hoping to utilize these resources to support their economy, must also get ready for unwanted offers from countries which are looking at their resources with greedy intentions. Once independent, Greenland would surely get scores of ‘trade offers’ and energy pacts which would be directed not towards the development of the people but getting hands at its untapped natural resources.
As the world endures the energy crisis countries with energy alternatives are trying to capitalize on every opportunity to sell their products and earn windfall profits; these include Indonesia and Brazil which are blindly pitching for biofuels as the solution to mankind’s ever growing energy demand. Recently Indonesia signed a pact with its neighbor, Papua New Guinea, to use its land for production of biofuels crops. It must be noted that Papua New Guinea is facing depletion of its rain forests at record levels and it might reduce by as much as 53% by 2020.
Although the people of Greenland wish to gain full independence, the difficulties that it would have to face cannot be neglected. The Greenlandic government must take decisions wisely in order to maintain its right over its own natural reserves.