Trump Pushes Arctic Offshore Oil Opening

Trump to Press for Arctic Offshore Oil Opening

By Ben Lefebvre | April 27 2017

President Donald Trump will seek to open the Arctic waters for offshore oil and gas drilling, reversing President Barack Obama’s policy that prevented exploration in a region that environmental groups warn is too sensitive to risk an ecological catastrophe.

The move is Trump’s latest attempt to jettison Obama-era environmental policies and help open the spigot for U.S. oil and natural gas production, but is certain to draw legal challenges from environmental groups.

Trump will sign an executive order Friday that also orders his Department of Interior to review the five-year offshore leasing plan issued by the Obama administration, Interior Secretary Zinke told reporters. The study could take two years to conduct, and will look at the federal waters in parts of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean as well as Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea and Cook Inlet areas. …

Trump’s executive order will also direct the Commerce Department to review all marine sanctuaries created or expanded in the past 10 years and report back to the White House in three months. …

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Arctic Climate Shifts to New State with “Profound Implications for People, Resources and Ecosystems Worldwide”

Arctic coastal communities
Circumpolar coastal human population distribution ca. 2009. Source:

Arctic Climate Warming Higher and Faster than Expected

By Margo McDiarmid | April 24, 2017

A new international report shows that Arctic temperatures are rising higher and faster than expected, and the effects are already being felt around the world.

“The Arctic’s climate is shifting to a new state,” warns the report.

“This transformation has profound implications for people, resources and ecosystems worldwide.”

The Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic assessment was written by more than 90 scientists from around the world who compiled the latest northern research on how climate change is affecting the Arctic ice and ecosystems.

It’s part of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program of the Arctic Council, which represents eight circumpolar countries.

Among the findings in this year’s report:

  • The Arctic Ocean could be largely free of sea ice in the summer as early as 2030 or even before that.
  • Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast as the temperatures in the rest of the world. In the fall of 2016 mean temperatures were six degrees higher than average.
  • Thawing permafrost that holds 50 per cent of the world’s carbon is already affecting northern infrastructure and could release significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
  • Polar bears, walruses and seals that rely on ice for survival are facing increased stress and disruption.
  • Changes in the Arctic may be affecting weather as far away as Southeast Asia.

“The Arctic is connected to the rest of the planet,” said David Barber, who is a leading expert on Arctic ice at the University of Manitoba and one of the authors of the report.

“We are seeing the first and strongest signs of global warming in the Arctic. We knew this was coming, we knew 30 years ago that it was coming, and it is now here,” said Barber in an interview with CBC News. …

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Whose Anthropocene? Revisiting Dipesh Chakrabarty’s “Four Theses”

Whose Anthropocene? Revisiting Dipesh Chakrabarty’s “Four Theses”

Edited by Robert Emmett and Thomas Lekan | 2016

Rachel Carson Center Perspectives | Transformations in Environment and Society

Introduction (excerpt from Emmett and Lakan 2016:7-8):
In his 2009 essay “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” the historian Dipesh Chakrabarty argued that anthropogenic climate change has signaled a fundamental shift in human history and human capacity. Once we have accepted the scientific evidence that human activities are re-shaping the Earth’s atmospheric patterns and geochemical cycles, he argues, we are compelled to recognize that human beings have, collectively, become a geophysical force capable of determining the course of climate for millions of years. A force of this magnitude is like the cyanobacteria that breathed oxygen into our atmosphere over 2.5 billion years ago, making life as we know it possible, or the asteroid that triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. On such a scale, the narrow channeling of climate anxiety onto the technoscientific dimensions of a transition from fossil fuel-based sources of energy to renewables appears quaint. Chakrabarty argues that emergent forms of geological agency have driven a wedge into the continuity of human experience over time that undergirds historical understanding. With these ties to the past severed, human beings often find themselves lacking a useful account of collective experience that can guide future action.

The “Four Theses” has become a primary text for understanding the problematic nature of the Anthropocene as a cultural category, one that describes a collective, if unintended, human project whose implications extend far beyond geological inquiries about stratigraphic dating. Even as geologists continue to debate whether the Earth has indeed departed the Holocene, and if so, when, Chakrabarty has articulated what is at stake for our perception of human agency as a species when the timescales of human history become entangled in geological epochs. Reflecting on his “Four Theses” involves re-casting if not radically transforming the meaning of history and the purpose of humanities research in the age of global warming.

Chakrabarty has proposed four theses to understand the “deep contradiction and confusion” that climate change has produced for historical understanding. In this volume, Timothy J. LeCain compares the “Four Theses” to Martin Luther’s “Ninety-Five Theses” for their potential to disrupt both humanistic and natural-scientific knowledge. Chakrabarty does not merely challenge the way we go about doing historical research; he argues that because climate change collapses the distinction between natural history and human history, it calls us to abandon the dominant way in which we have conceptualized ourselves since the Enlightenment. The idea of the Anthropocene severely qualifies humanist histories of modernity and globalization, whether of the neoliberal, progressive, or Marxist variety. Its geological hypothesis requires us to put global histories of capital in conversation with the species history of humans, as colonial expansion and capitalist accumulation produced both historical inequalities and locked in future climate instability tied to humanity at the level of a global population. Considering species history and the history of capital together thus pushes us to the limits of historical understanding. Imagination and creativity take on renewed importance for navigating the currents of shared experience.

For historians interested in processes of globalization, decolonization, and environmental change, the “Four Theses” poses a concise challenge to phenomenological or hermeneutic understandings of the past, materialist analyses of capitalism, postcolonial understandings of the subaltern, and ecological histories that situate humans as biological agents. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Chakrabarty argues, historians of all stripes assumed that the story of human affairs unfolded through acts of conscious self-reflection beyond the analytics of naturalistic explanation. Indeed, such assumptions about humans’ capacity for individual and collective self-fashioning ensured that considerations of freedom, rights, and struggles for emancipation have remained at the center of our historical imagination for the past 250 years, even when circumscribed by Karl Marx’s famous dictum that “men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”


Foreword and Introduction
Robert Emmett and Thomas Lekan

Breaching the Divide: Human and Natural Histories
Heralding a New Humanism: The Radical Implications of Chakrabarty’s “Four Theses”
Timothy J. LeCain

Climate Change and the Confluence of Natural and Human History: A Lawyer’s Perspective
Josh Eagle

Human Niche Construction and the Anthropocene
Carol Boggs

Politics in/of the Anthropocene
The Geologic Challenge of the Anthropocene
Lori A. Ziolkowski

Rifts or Bridges? Ruptures and Continuities in Human-Environment Interactions
Jessica Barnes

Politics in—but not of—the Anthropocene
John M. Meyer

Species Capital: Consumption in the Anthropocene
Beyond Corporate Sustainability in the Anthropocene
Carol Hee

The Politics of Nature in the Anthropocene
Kathleen McAfee

Politics of Anthropocene Consumption: Dipesh Chakrabarty and Three College Courses
Laura A. Watt

Probing Our Limits
Narrative and the Geophysical Imagination Imagining Geological Agency: Storytelling in the Anthropocene
Alexa Weik von Mossner

Anthropocene Convergences: A Report from the Field
Lisa Sideris

The Crisis of Environmental Narrative in the Anthropocene
Daniel deB. Richter

Whose Anthropocene? A Response
Dipesh Chakrabarty

Download Whose Anthropocene?:

Read Dipesh Chakrabarty’s 2009 essay ‘The Climate of History: Four Theses’: