Iceland's prime minister says climate change offers 'great opportunities' for his country
Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson [AFP]

Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said Wednesday that climate change will create "great opportunities" for the Nordic island nation in the future.

"There will be water shortages, energy will be more expensive, there will be land shortages so it is predicted that food prices will rise in the foreseeable future," he told public broadcaster RUV.

Referring to predictions from U.S. climate scientist Laurence C. Smith that there will be winners and losers from climate change by 2050, the Icelandic premier said his country was one of those that are expected to prosper.

"Great opportunities are opening up in the north in regard to shipping routes, in regard to oil and gas production and other raw materials and not least in regard to food production," he said.

Gunnlaugsson's comments angered opposition politicians.

"It is not responsible to view climate change from the narrow interests of Iceland," said Left-Green Movement leader Katrin Jakobsdottir, adding that there "may turn out to be not such great opportunities in the end".

On Monday the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of a "severe, pervasive and irreversible impact" if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The IPCC warned that untamed greenhouse gas emissions may cost trillions of dollars in damage to property and ecosystems, and in bills for shoring up climate defences.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]