The Arctic is melting faster than almost anybody expected. It has just been reported that the area of sea ice has never been smaller. And having already surpassed previous annual low points in August, it will shrink further in September. Since 1951 the Arctic has warmed roughly twice as much as the global average. So the latest record is a frightening milestone in the advance of climate change. Yet for many in Asia, in the short term, greed trumps fear. The thawing of the north offers the prospect both of access to untold mineral wealth and drastically shorter shipping routes to the Atlantic.