This Week’s Nuisance (KH)

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Katharina Hauptmann's picture

On April 1, Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, said in an interview with broadcaster RÚV that while climate change had a negative impact on the world overall, it presented many opportunities for Iceland’s future. 

Sigmundur Davíð referred to a book by Laurence C. Smith called The World in 2050 which predicts that by 2050 eight Nordic countries will benefit from the otherwise 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 (…) 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,” he said.

Many people at first thought (or rather hoped) that his statement was an April Fools’ hoax, but sadly Sigmundur Davíð meant what he said as he later confirmed when approached on the subject.

Lots of people have since expressed their disbelief and anger at the his words; the internet is full of furious and distraught comments.

And right so. How can somebody holding the office of Prime Minister publicly advertise such a notion, displaying such a money-grubbing attitude in the light of an impending disaster for mankind? That is just wrong. Wrong, utterly despicable and shameful.

It is quite concerning when the head of your government talks so lightly about water shortage and rising food prices and then goes on about how this is positive for his country. Only a cold-hearted mercenary would say such a thing as we are talking about actual people suffering.

But that is impossible, after all, we are talking about our beloved Prime Minister, the virtuous Sigmundur Davíð, a common man with common sense. Right?

Climate change has already brought about severe and possibly permanent alterations to our planet’s geological, biological and ecological systems and the future isn’t all that rosy.

People in some areas of the world are already facing large-scale environmental hazards contributing towards the spread of disease, water and food shortage.  

Come on, as Prime Minister you simply cannot utter such nonsense in public.

I would have expected such a gaffe from someone like Vigdís Hauksdóttir (Iceland’s Sarah Palin)—or the actual Sarah Palin—but not from the virtuous Sigmundur Davíð. 

One of the people commenting on the Prime Minister’s remark is investigative journalist and WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson and his words hit the mark:

“Only a political idiot would say that the darkest predictions of disaster facing mankind, i.e, famine, war and death presented positive opportunities for the Icelandic nation.”

Well said.

Does the Prime Minister actually not consider what kind of a message he is sending out?

Katharina Hauptmann – katha.hauptmann@gmail.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.