Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, caused controversy yesterday when he said that while climate change was a negative phenomenon for the world overall, it presented many positive opportunities for Iceland’s future.
In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Sigmundur Davíð outlined the ways climate change might present Iceland with great opportunities for increased food production and export. The prime minister also referred to a book by Laurence C. Smith which predicts that by 2050 eight Nordic countries will benefit from the devastating effects of climate change.
“Iceland is one of the eight countries of the future. [The World In 2050] points out that clearly a lot of opportunities will open up in the Arctic in terms of shipping routes, oil, gas and mineral development, not to mention food production,” said Sigmundur Davíð. “There’s a water shortage, energy is becoming more expensive, land is in short supply and it is predicted that the cost of food will rise in the foreseeable future because of increased demand. So there are great opportunities for Iceland there and we are mapping it out.”
Some Icelanders are expressing anger at the prime minister’s profiteering attitude to the devastation that climate change may wreak on the planet.
“Only a political idiot would say that the darkest predictions of disaster facing man kind, i.e famine, war and death presented positive opportunities for the Icelandic nation,” said investigative journalist and Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson.
“This must be an April Fools’ joke, the prime minister talking about Iceland’s opportunities in the wake of climate change,” said city councilwoman Björk Vilhelmsdóttir. “We are causing natural disasters and need to slow down, not run after “opportunities”.”