One important factor left out of most global warming cost-benefit analysis: The sheer awesomeness of having an independent Greenland. Stephan Faris reports in The New York Times that it could soon become a reality, as thawing ice paves the way for an extraction-based economy: lead, zinc, aluminum, oil, and gas. Greenland's economy has been unsustainable on its own since the 15th century, but that's changing:
In November, Greenlanders will vote on a referendum that would leverage global warming into a path to independence. The island’s 56,000 predominantly Inuit residents have enjoyed limited home rule since 1978. The proposed plan for self-rule, drafted in partnership with Copenhagen, is expected to pass overwhelmingly. It would grant the first $16 million of oil and mineral income to the local government, with further revenues split equally until Denmark’s share reaches roughly the $680 million a year Greenlanders currently receive from the Danes. Then there would be no further obstacles to sovereignty.
And if an independent Greenland offers this much promise (and this cool a flag), just think what an inhabited Antarctica could produce! Sure, it would mean several dozen feet of sea-level rise, but what's that in the grand scheme of things?